A colourful return to nature creates a sense of wellbeing

A colourful return to nature creates a sense of wellbeing

The pandemic has created a seismic shift in human behaviour. We have adapted well to new ways of working and new ways of communicating with our friends and family, but how will the hospitality industry use colour to connect with the new type of customer that is emerging?

Reassuring the post-corona consumer

Colour is a powerful tool and it has ability to control the emotional noise that surrounds us. I think it’s fair to say that the last year has been a rollercoaster of emotions from worry and anxiety with the announcement of the first lockdown in March 2020 to frustration and confusion with the ongoing uncertainty as we enter a new year.

Like many other sectors, the hospitality industry has been hit exceptionally hard all over the world but I’m sure the appetite that many humans have to travel, see and experience other parts of the world remains. Having been cooped up in our homes and restricted to our local areas (in some cases only a 5km radius from our front-door) – as human beings we are craving a change of scene, to get away from our daily routine, and to have shared experiences with loved ones that help us reset, recharge and refocus.

Beach - reflect, recharge, refocus
Image by Thomas Lipke

The new meaning of colour in hotel design

As we continue to move through 2021, I believe colour will play an increasingly significant part in hotel design. Whilst the world is undergoing one of the biggest global ‘resets’ in decades – with many people re-evaluating their lives, how they use their homes, where they want to live, their choice of career, right down to the way they wish to show-up and be present in the world – this is also a tremendous opportunity for hotels to ‘reset’, refresh and reinvent themselves ready for the new customer that will emerge post pandemic.

In some instances that may be a guest that’s looking for a high-end, luxury and high-tech experience that gives them the power to control and operate everything in their room or suite from an electronic device, to the more environmentally values based guest who’s seeking to immerse themselves in nature and to find a destination that has focused on bring the outdoors in and adopted a more ‘biophilic’ style to their architecture and design that enables humans to reconnect with nature. Moreover, perhaps where a hotelier has sourced all their products locally and from sustainable sources – the two types of customer are very different and demand a different colour scheme and design style. Given the fact we’ve had so much screen time in the past 12 months post pandemic it’s likely we will see a surge of the environmentally values based consumer.

In addition, just as colour has the ability to create an effective and productive workplace, it also has the ability to evoke an emotion and a positive memorable experience at a hotel. Remember your guest’s make decisions based on their emotions and colour has the ability to influence our emotions and change our behaviour – so it’s imperative for a hotel to get their colour scheme right to establish true, meaningful connections with their guests.

Common pitfalls to avoid when choosing colour

Choosing a colour scheme for a hotel is hugely complex and an expensive decision to get wrong. It’s important to think about what the hotel brand stands for, who their ideal guest is (who do they want to appeal to), what do they want their hotel to offer that others don’t, what behaviours do they want to elicit, what feeling’s do they want to evoke, what memories do they want their guests to take away with them – all of these elements and more need a huge amount of consideration.

“Choosing a colour scheme because it’s ‘on trend’ means you’re following someone else’s version of ‘good’ or ‘great’.”

Emma Potter

So, when choosing a colour scheme, consider this:

Brilliant white

I would recommend that you avoid choosing brilliant white to paint a space, whether it’s big or small. From a psychological stand-point white may be perceived as perfection to bring a sense of calm and quite; yet on the flip side it makes a space feel sterile, cold and lifeless. It reminds me of stark, clinical hospitals which is not a vibe or experience a hotelier wishes their guests to experience whilst on vacation. However, I do appreciate that some architects may be a fan of using white as it shows off the lines in the design and construction of a space, or the sculptural fluid curves that may be been employed as part of the design – but it does nothing to invigorate and comfort the human spirit in post-Covid times.

- Over satiation

Just as it’s important not to saturate a space with brilliant white, it’s equally not advisable to saturate a space with any ‘one’ colour. All colours, with the exception of pure greys, have positive and negative psychological aspects. Of course, grey may make us feel safe because it has the capacity to help us blend in with the background but for me it’s quite nondescript and when surrounded by it for too long depletes my energy levels, resulting in me feeling drained and lethargic. Equally if I was immersed in a red space initially, I may feel energised and excited but if I remain in a red room for a long period of time, I’m likely to become agitated and annoyed because I’ve been over stimulated by the colour.

Think about the space as a whole

When designing for a space it’s easy to get carried away with the colour scheme on the walls, but it’s important to think about the space as a whole. There are many elements to consider, from the walls, carpets, and cabinetry, to soft furnishings (including fabric type and textures as well as the construction of and / or print pattern), to lighting, glassware and the many accessories that adorn and embellish an environment. Think about the design journey and space as ‘one’ and the experience you with so take your guests on will flow.

Tonal harmony

A colour scheme will always come together and be a success when the colours chosen relate and come from the same tonal group. When colours don’t harmonise it generally creates a sense of confusion or disharmony which guests will pick up on innately, but what they won’t always be able to identify or articulate is ‘why’ they feel this sense of discomfort. In essence it all comes down to selecting a colour palette that has tonal harmony.

Choosing a colour because it’s on trend

I imagine opting for a colour scheme because it’s ‘on trend’ is more common than we realise. Yet to help us choose the right colour scheme it would be good to understand how, as humans, we relate to colour – be that psychologically, personally and symbolically. Additionally, it makes senses to understand the influence of both the positive and negative traits, plus the application and proportion of colour used to create the desired results. Choosing a colour scheme because it’s ‘on trend’ means you’re following someone else’s version of ‘good’ or ‘great’, and not tuning into your intuition to discover your own. There are many well-respected paint-manufactures who make trend predictions at the beginning of every year like Pantone, Dulux, Farrow and Ball or Benjamin Moore – these are great places to go for inspiration, but in the end, make sure you select a colour palette and design style that’s right for your brand and the experience you wish to create – in the end it’s all about creating an immersive and memorable customer journey.

Clever ways of injecting colour to enhance your wellbeing

The idea of connecting hotel design and hospitality with nature is not new, yet in response to the pandemic there has been some discussion of the re-emergence and rise of biophilic design – which builds on the idea that as humans we have an innate attraction to, and love of, the nature world. This would possibly explain why people will happily pay more for a room with a view of never-ending mountain ranges or the expansive horizon of the sea – as these vistas will most likely deliver an incredible glowing sunrise to start your day whilst sipping on a delicious cup of freshly brewed coffee or tea, or to end your day with a mesmerising sunset whilst enjoying a chilled glass of rose or perhaps a gin and tonic as a sundowner.

Sunset
Image by Pixabay

In essence ‘Biophilia’ means ‘love of life’, however, when it comes to biophilic design this does not mean putting in a few plants as a token gesture. It means embracing all elements of biophilic design, a true engagement of all our senses – sight, taste, hearing, touch and smell – to help us understand and absorb what’s going on around us. This means using natural materials such as wood, maximising natural light, making organic shapes a priority, and using a range of plants to create a sense of the great outdoors – all of which helps to balance our emotions and support our emotional wellbeing whilst introducing a natural range of tones, shapes and colours. In this way, not only do we create a space where guests feel safe and secure, we enable them to better connect with themselves by creating a peaceful, tranquil environment, making it a memorable meaningful experience that they’ll want to come back for, time and time again, year in, year out.

Feature image by David Clode on Unsplash

Decoding colour – a catalyst for connection and business growth

Decoding colour – a catalyst for connection and business growth

Colour is one of the most important marketing tools. Did you know that humans connect with colour first and words second? That’s one of the reasons why it’s so important to understand the huge impact colour has on connecting with our target audience – the words and the emotive message are secondary (yet equally important to convey the desired message).  In essence, colour has the ability to influence how we, as humans, emotionally connect with a brand or a product in an authentic, meaningful and positive way. Think strategically – never overlook the part colour plays as a key marketing tool. 

Since my teens I’ve always been curious about colour and how we use it in our lives. From a marketing perspective, whether we’ve chosen to acknowledge it or not, when we look at a marketing campaign, for a restaurant or item of clothing, the first thing that impacts us is colour. Of course, storytelling and the words chosen to accompany the colour and design style are important too as they reinforce the message a campaign aims to convey and enable customer to better emotionally connect, but are brands truly aware of the subconscious messages they communicate through the use of colour?

A powerful marketing tool – not to be overlooked

From a marketing perspective, colour is the most overlooked marketing tool. In this day and age we’re quite rightly focused on delivering digital experiences and crafting content that sparks action, but the first thing that a consumer will notice and subconsciously react to when looking at an advertising or marketing campaign are the colours employed – and our intuitive reactions are inherent – sometimes we just know something is ‘off’ but we can’t quite put our finger on it. Subconsciously we’ve instantly had a positive or negative reaction – that will either draw us in and make us curious to know more, or repel us and physically encourage us to move on – which of course results in a missed opportunity for a brand to build trusted, authentic relationships with their target audience and from a commercial perspective, lost sales.

Let’s look at a brand that in my opinion, has really nailed it. Famous for its ‘swoosh’ logo and ‘Just Do It’ slogan, active lifestyle brand Nike is one of the most well-known and probably most well-respected brands in the world. Known originally for making athletic footwear, they enable their customers to customise key products so they’re able to create a pair of trainers using your favourite combinations of colours – to look at an example check out ‘Nike by you’. This is a marketing person and brand strategist that understands the power of colour to influence a purchase and to deliver a personalised, memorable experience that has the ‘talkability’ factor amongst friends and family. When it comes to marketing, personal referrals are the holy grail – a conversation created in this authentic way is most likely to bring new customers. 

Make an impact – use colour strategically

Entrepreneurs and founders who really understand the benefits of building a brand, and understand what their brand stands for, are most likely to buy into the fact that when they are clear on who they are as person – their business benefits. In addition, brands need to show up authentically, just as humans do, otherwise people see through them and move on (like a magpie) to the next shiny object that’s caught their eye.

To apply this thinking on a personal level, applied colour and design psychology expert Karen Haller asks this question – “Why is it that you’re drawn to wear blue one day and green the next?” How do you feel when you wear red, or black – do you feel powerful and strong – or have you chosen to wear those colours because that’s how you want others to perceive you on a given day? 

To resonate with our target audience, think strategically about how you build your brand playbook and guidelines right from the start. Everything you communicate stems from this critical but often overlooked piece of work. Your brand and all elements (visual, written, colour palette and more) must interplay and work cohesively together to establish and build your brand value over time. If a brand gets this wrong it can have a negative on their bottom-line and has the potential to push customers intio the arms of the competition.

On the subject of competitors – don’t copy what they’re doing. Understand who you are, what you want to stand for, who your customers are and don’t chase what someone else has got – remember to always be authentic to you.  Know your customers and be of service to them. 

Connect with colour

Never underestimate the power of colour to influence and be a catalyst for growth, it’s an incredible marketing tool so use it wisely. Fancy a chat? Then get in touch to talk more about consciously creating and connecting with colour. 

Featured image by Robert Katzki

Influencer Marketing – the do’s and don’t’s from specialists in their field

Influencer Marketing – the do’s and don’t’s from specialists in their field

Last week I joined a networking event hosted by the Surrey Blogger Collective. A totally new event for me as my usual stomping ground is London, but in recent month’s I’ve made a conscious decision to connect with entrepreneurs in the great boundaries of our wonderful capital. Why? Because there’s so many inspirational people out there living incredible lives, establishing new career paths, that in previous years were unimaginable. 

The rise of the influencer  

With Fatima Truscott, Fashion Journalist and Lifestyle Blogger behind the FT Times hosting, the Autumn Social networking event titled ‘Success Behind The Squares’ presented a fantastic line up of speakers, namely psychologist and blogger Anna Mathur, YouTube Star and Channel Mum SJ Strum, Parenting and Lifestyle Blogger Keely Busby, and Co-Founder and Company Director of Wickerwood, Shirley Leigh-Wood Oakes. 

Here are some of the insight’s speakers shared on the night…

Quality and authority 

Focus on quality and authority, both micro and nano influencers, look at who they are, what stories are they telling, are they stimulating their audiences, and are they real, authentic and honest? Your followers will see through content that isn’t genuine, especially when sponsored ads pop into their feed. It’s essential to engage with your followers… reply, comment, feedback… and have a voice. As consumers, we have a love hate relationships with ads – the lines are becoming more blurred. Do consumers even know or recognise one from the other?

Authenticity 

Write about what you think and be authentic. As an influencer you are the middle person between the brand and the audience, you have a responsibility to have a two-way communication, and feedback audience comments to the brand. Be natural. Be human. Focus on great followers, know your community, and don’t be anything that you are not. 

Recognise your worth 

Know your value and what you’re giving to the brand. Remember brands have a budget to work with so don’t work for free. Be confident in yourself and recognise your worth. We proud of the brands you work with, and work with brands that fit into your lifestyle. Influencers used to be at the end of the conversation, now they are right at the start – for example a real mum showing how a product fits into her and her family’s life, in her home – for a brand this is priceless. 

Be relatable 

Be gentle, relate to your audience, and understand how you connect. Think audience first, how will my audience feel about me sharing this post and be responsible for your representation of a brand. 

Gifting 

It’s been suggested that influencers need to make it known when they have been gifted a product that they are posting. Or do they? It’s not legal, but remember your audience and community want authenticity, so it’s probably best to reflect reality. It’s an interesting question to ask and address as currently celebrities are not subjected to this… so why the influencer? Do you think influencers should write a disclaimer if they have been gifted a product? I’m sure this conversation will continue…

Click and pay 

Platforms and new technology have launched features that make it easy for the consumer to ‘click and pay’ on social, so in theory a follower is only three clicks away from making a purchase. If that’s the case for Instagram, imagine what’s coming for TV?

Use the features available 

Maximise what’s available within Instagram, use all of their features and get familiar with IGTV. Understandably they want to keep users within the Instagram platform and video content is more-sticky; it also helps to increasing dwell time. Embrace the changes and be the early adopter of new features and channels. Instagram TV has vast volume and reach. 

Themed content and frequency 

It’s incredibly useful to have a schedule, not only for your structure, but it also provides a reason for your followers to come back and check in with you. For example, create one themed video a week on YouTube on a Monday – your followers will grow to expect an engaging piece of content from you, so give them what they want. Read the YouTube bible, go to workshops, they will show you how to use the channel and tools available. When picking a theme, stay true to what your content is and stay true to you. Stick to your principles, share what you’re passionate about and know what you are there for. 

Establish your boundaries – Instagram is always hungry, what are you feeding it?

It’s good to understand why you have chosen to use Instagram. It’s also good to know what it’s giving back to you – for example escapism, financial freedom, community, friendship, connection, a place to freely express yourself. With this in mind, know and establish your boundaries, the frequency that you wish to post, and stay healthy. It’s very easy to fall into the trap of feeling like you need to respond straight away, DM and reply to everyone who’s messaged you, follow up and review all notifications… but this can be a challenge and also very time consuming. 

Here, Anna Mathur – psychotherapist, mum, writer and speaker – discusses and shares her thoughts about the pros and cons of being an influencer on Intragram. With 79K followers, there’s potentially a lot of people for her to respond to – yet she makes a point of responding to all of her messages. People are emotionally connected to influencers, however, being a psychotheratist means Anna follows an ethical code of conduct and can’t give mental health advice. 

Without knowing it, people and Instagram will take and take and take, so it’s imperative to know what Instagram is giving back to you. As an authentic influencer our soul is in our content – it’s hard therefore, to hear negative feedback. But there’s always more positive than negative. Be mindful to not base your value on what other people think (they may be having a really bad day). Trolling can also become an issue… so remember to stand strong in your foundations, know you are loved, these are the truths, and know you are enough. 

Moreover, as an influencer it’s not uncommon to get what Anna calls an ‘Insta wobble’ or ‘funk’. She deals with them by taking the pressure off having to post every day. It’s also important to remember that not every post will receive the same amount of likes and that’s OK, not everyone or everything appeals to your audience. People are drawn to authenticity so going back to a point mentioned earlier, be true to you and stick to your principles. Don’t be scared to take a break and don’t filter yourself.

On the flip side of being connected to thousands of people, downtime must also be a priority. Leave your phone in another room so it’s out of reach. Find a balance and do things that fuel and energise you – exercise and doing something physical is really important. If yoga keeps you stable, do it daily or weekly. We need to find ways to reinvest in ourselves to stay healthy. Selfcare (or self-preservation) is essential. Everyone benefits when we look after ourselves. 

Don’t berate yourself for not finishing things… life happens 

To all influencers… some final words for @annamathur – My content enables other people to have a voice. I consider the content that I put out, there’s thought behind it – it is filtered to keep my boundaries in place. I value my family’s privacy therefore I don’t show my husband or my children’s faces, and that’s the right decision for me and my family. I am a professional and I have to be accountable – when necessary I signpost people for help – see their GP, call 111, or call 999. 

When in doubt, ground yourself by putting your feet on the floor. Be grounded in your truth, you are loved, you are doing good stuff (teaching and educating), everything else is just subjective, it’s noise, it’s opinion… 

You can find out more about the Surrey Blogger Creative here. I know I will be attending more of their events in the future. Feel free to come and join me. 

Marketing weaponry – Love your brand

Marketing weaponry – Love your brand

As someone who loves getting involved with the nitty gritty of what make a brand successful, working on projects to establish a brand’s identity, right from the outset, is one of the most exciting projects to work on. 

No only does your brand communicate your business’ beliefs, values, products and services to your customers, partners, suppliers, and other third parties – it also communicates to your competitors. It is therefore imperative to review your brand messaging at regular intervals, and when the market demands, to ensure you’re brand communications are on message and are relevant to your target audience. Moreover, from an internal perspective, your brand will also play an important part to attract, recruit and retain the right talent to your business. 

Why your brand message is so important 

Whether you are launching a new brand to market or you are looking at a brand refresh, various components need to be considered when you establish brand guidelines for your business. 

Here are some questions to get you thinking… What companies inspire you? Who are you up against from a competitor standpoint? What are your brand product and services? What’s your vision: what do you want to be? What’s you mission: how are you going to achieve your vision? What’s you brand essence: the core thought behind everything you do? What are you brand values? How do you want your brand (and people who work for your brand) to act? What’s your elevator pitch (this needs to be something you’d say to your mates down the pub)? What’s your tone of voice? What messaging do you need to specify around each product and service? Integrated with these questions is your brand personality – this helps to communicate what you want your customers to feel about your brand. 

When I’m working with a client to develop their brand messaging I always make sure each communication delivers a customer benefit, supports the brands values, communicates their personality and conveys a relevant message – always communicate in a fewer words as possible. 

Developing your brands look and feel 

To bring your brand to life visually you need to clearly brief your internal designers or external design agency with what you want you brand to represent. Having a comprehensive brand guidelines document to share at the briefing stage will help you do just that as they form the cornerstone and anchor for all branded communications. 

From here your design team or agency will be in a position to develop and propose various brand routes using the right colours, shapes, tones and imagery – all are equally as important as the written and verbal message you wish to communicate – they need to compliment and work together to successfully convey your brand clearly, succinctly and consistently. 

Never underestimate the power of your brand – love and nurture it – it is the most important part of your marketing weaponry. 

When to consider a rebrand 

Throughout a company’s lifetime it may choose to rebrand and create a new brand identity – this decision will be driven by a number of factors: 

Change in management and leadership 

All the CEO’s I’ve worked with have had a clear vision and direction for the business they are leading, therefore a new CEO may trigger a rebrand to breathe new life into a business. 

Customer engagement and wider audience appeal 

A drop in customer engagement with often prompt a business to re-access and refresh its brand communications.  Moreover, if you’re aiming to broaden your target demographic then your brand messaging will need an overhaul to engage a new audience. 

Mergers and acquisitions

These provide the perfect opportunity to consider a rebrand to encapsulate and update the brands USPs and to re-position a brand in the market. 

Demergers

When a company has been separated from a larger organisation it is essential for that business to establish it’s own brand identity to clearly demonstrate it is no longer part of the organisation. 

Differentiation

Every business has it’s own set of USPs that need to be clearly communicated through its branding. With such a competitive landscape, and rivals with similar messages to communicate, businesses need to make every effort to differentiate and create standout to stay ahead of the competition. 

There are a host of other reasons why a company many rebrand – to launch a new product or service to market; when expanding into new, international markets and the existing brand has negative connotation or associations; to create brand consistency that reflects transformation, and a new direction for a business – there are multiple opportunities and all need to have the right strategic plan in place.  

Building brand value and equity: what’s your strategy? 

Throughout the last 15 years or so I’ve had the pleasure of working along side some very inspirational, visionary CEO’s and MD’s to make things happen for their business. Together we have created some incredible, memorable journeys to establish and launch their brand to market, to incorporate the acquisition of new brands into their business, and build their brand equity to point of sale.

The power of content to engage your audience and drive lead generation

The power of content to engage your audience and drive lead generation

The motto ‘Content is king’ has been around for decades and at it’s core this statement still remains true. For those investing in content marketing there are several stages to consider from outlining your content strategy and selecting the right content platform, to content creation and defining the metrics that measure perceived success. 

Moreover, depending on your objectives, you’ll need to decide if responsibility for your content marketing resides internally with your in-house marketing team, or externally with your appointed PR or digital/SEO agency. 

One thing is for sure – both will want to get involved with defining, building and executing your content marketing strategy: And quite rightly so as they have different, yet complimentary skillsets to bring to the table. In my personal experience it makes sense for any agencies you’re engaging with to work together in a collaborative fashion to achieve the desired results for their client. 

8 reasons why investing in content marketing is good for business

  1. Releasing updated articles and interactive content within digital solutions can have up to 70% more conversions in comparison to static content, which is around 36% (Source: Markereer.Kapost)
  2. Content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates about 3x as many leads.  (Source: Demand Metric)
  3. 46% of UK marketers struggle to produce content consistently 
  4. 78% of consumers believe that organizations providing custom content are interested in building good relationships with them (Source: McMurry/TMG)
  5. 77% of consumers have chosen, recommended, or paid more for a brand that provides a personalized service or experience (Source: Forrester)
  6. 78% of consumers will only engage offers if they have been personalized to their previous engagements with the brand (Source: Marketo)
  7. 72% of marketers are producing significantly more content than they did a year ago (Source: CMI)
  8. Content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates about 3x as many leads. (Source: Demand Metric)

The perfect pair – Artificial Intelligence and Emotional Intelligence

The perfect pair – Artificial Intelligence and Emotional Intelligence

Machine learning (ML), Artificial Intelligence (AI), Big Data – have we arrived at a point where, fundamentally, these buzzwords have merged into one and they mean the same thing? They certainly seem to appear to be joined at the hip.

For those that would like a definition, according to Tech Target ‘Machine Learning is a type of AI that allows software applications to become more accurate in predicting outcomes without being explicitly programmed. The basic premise of machine learning is to build algorithms that can receive input data and use statistical analysis to predict an output value within an acceptable range.’

The growth of MarTech 

The growth of MarTech platforms has been exponential. In the CRM space HubSpot and Salesforce probably have the highest market share when it comes to managing a businesses sales and marketing efforts, with both platforms offering a range of cool features to monitor and track prospect engagement throughout the sales funnel, including lead prediction and scoring. At launch, both businesses were relatively early adopters of emerging technology. The co-founders of HubSpot, Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah set out to launch an online marketing platform, to address the flagging success of direct mail and other more traditional marketing activities – seeing amazing growth, the company brought in $82.3 million in revenue in Q1 2017.

Investment in AI takes centre stage 

I am a firm believer that the technology and software we have access to today needs to serve humans, and bring faster, more cost effective solutions for businesses seeking to solve challenges around customer engagement, loyalty and retention. 

Other big tech companies continue to flex their AI muscle – Microsoft, Amazon, and Google to name a few, all have huge research budgets to help them stay ahead of the competition.  Moreover, interest and investment into AI has experienced incredible growth with Google acquiring Deepmind for $400 million in 2014 and Microsoft launching a new fund for AI start-ups in December 2016.  

We’ve even seen industry associations such as the IAB launch an AI / ML Working Group to help marketing, technology and advertising executives understand, and navigate the impact new and emerging AI / ML MarTech platforms are having on the industry. As awareness in big brands and corporations is considered to be low, gathering knowledge on how this topic – and how you can use it – will definitely aide ones career.

GAFA – tech giants to watch 

The big four to watch in the tech space are Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon. Big money is being spent on acquisitions and R&D with Google reported to have spent between $20 and $30 billion on AI in 2016 (with 90% spent on R&D and deployment and 10% on AI acquisition), according to McKinsey. Launched in 2014, Google’s Alexa has certainly become the leading digital assistant in many homes across the globe.  

Deep learning AI provides a wealth of data to help brands and businesses better understand their customers, and the insight and tools to better engage with them. Having already introduced facial recognition technology in 2010, Facebook now plans to personalise what matters to each user, populating timelines with things they genuinely care about, rather than presenting posts and people they would prefer not to see.

Moreover, it has speculatively been reported that Apple, post the acquisition of AI start-up Emotient in early 2016, will focus on facial recognition technology and customers reaction to advertisements.

Is it just me of is it all starting to feel a little bit ‘BIG BROTHER’? 

Emotional Intelligence – the human element 

Whilst technology continues to evolve and global businesses lap up solutions being delivered to market, in my eyes technology most certainly does not replace the human brain. Data, through AI does provide tremendous insight, along side the great minds of many a data scientist – but it does not automatically deliver answers to all of the challenges faced.

Many CIO’s and CEO’s maintain the view that the application of ‘Emotional Intelligence’ (EI) has been critical to the success and growth of the businesses they build and lead. In this era of digital transformation, more than ever businesses need senior level executives that have the ability to lead, to influence, to perform and to manage a growing team. And whilst AI provides rational, factual information, there remains a huge role for human interaction, authenticity and connection. 

It’s the team of people you wrap around your product or platform who are the ‘guardians’ to make your business a success. These ‘guardians’ build relationships with stakeholders; manage conflict by having strong social awareness, are aware of both verbal and non-verbal communications between peers, and have the ability to show empathy and really listen to ensure nothing being expressed is overlooked. 

In high-pressure environments those with high levels of EI out perform others – for example, Gartner reported that ‘Top performers in computer programming were measured to have a 1,272% higher productivity rate than the average programmer’. Imagine what you business would achieve if all of our team had high levels of EI? 

In very simple terms, it’s about enabling people and showing them the benefits of becoming super aware, being socially aware, choosing the right response, and being able to positively influence those around them to achieve a shared ‘end result’.