Weeknotes: 45.2015 – empathy with our clients (answering the tough questions)

On November 12th, 2015, posted in: weeknotes by

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Our main piece of work as a team last week was doing some serious introspection, as we started working with the brilliant and lovely Jo Finn on our marketing and communications. Lindsey, Alyson and I met her last Wednesday to kick off the process, after going through a big list of questions from Jo about Frankly, Green and Webb’s values, strengths, weaknesses and objectives. It was interesting coming at it from the perspective of a new team member, albeit one who has worked with FGW a lot in the past, since I’m probably halfway between being able to see the company as an insider and an outsider. Hopefully that’s a useful perspective, with a degree of objectivity. I can point out the positives without it feeling like blowing one’s own trumpet, for example.

A key aim is to overturn the perception that FGW is just about mobile and evaluation. Partly because I now bring experience in games (look out for a games workshop I’ll be running, coming soon) but also because the rest of FGW has actually been working on all kinds of digital projects, strategies, services etc. So, that’s a clear objective, but to understand how to get there, reach the right people, and so on, we have to do a bit of deep digging to make sure we are clear about what we offer. It’s a challenging process, answering some tough questions!

Lindsey and Alyson were reflecting that it’s a process they’ve often put clients through, forcing them to reexamine what they thought they might want and go back to the basics about strategic aims and objectives, the target audience and so on. So, they were feeling like they could empathise with everyone they’ve done it to in the past!

You can see the benefits, though, even from just starting the process. Whilst we had done some work on this internally, having someone independent come and properly facilitate the conversation is quite different. It provides a support for you to focus on the issues, makes the implicit explicit so you have a shared understanding, and doesn’t let you hide from difficult questions you’ve been avoiding. Jo has been great at asking the right questions to get at this.

Hopefully this will not only help us improve the way we talk about our work, but also the way we go through this process with clients, having now been on the receiving end. We’ll be sharing more about this as we go through it.

Our conferences list from last week seems to have proved quite popular. Thanks to everyone who made suggestions for more to add, will put those in soon, and try and keep it up to date as much as possible. It also prompted other people to post theirs. Chris Unitt’s excellent Cultural Digital Newsletter included a link to ours (thanks Chris!) and a previous list that he had put together. Also, via twitter, @mia_out pointed us at one in a calendar format created by @amandafrench and now looked after by the DLF.

Last week Laura was at the MCN conference, which apparently was very good. It seems one of the noticeable themes this year was about people, the human factor, which is a positive trend. A more detailed write up from Laura will be coming soon. Alyson and Lindsey were also at the MA trade show, catching up with colleagues old and new, but not the conference, so we’ll be looking out for good write ups of that and having a look through the hashtag.

Congratulations are due to Lincoln Castle, who we were working with in 2013. They’ve been awarded the Best UK Tourism prize from the British Association of Travel Writers, following their Lincoln Castle Revealed restoration project. You can read our case study about the project, just published, here.

And finally, I’m in Washington DC and New York from the 19th to the 29th. Have never been to Washington, and haven’t been to New York since Spring 2001, so am really excited about seeing the cities, and of course their museums. Am looking for suggestions of interesting museum digital projects to go take a look at (and people to meet), so please do let me know if you have any good examples. So far I know I’ll be aiming to visit the Brooklyn Museum and use the ASK app, and the Cooper Hewitt to find out more about The Pen.

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