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Tuesday, 30 July 2013

How To Manage Staff Holidays At Peak Periods

As anyone who is responsible for workforce scheduling knows, ensuring adequate staff cover in summer and at popular holiday times can be a real headache. Add to that the problem of parents having to take time off to care for their children at half term and staff scheduling can turn into a logistical nightmare.
Many businesses experience a downturn in turnover during peak holiday periods as most of their customers are also on holiday. In such cases, it may make economic sense to run the business using only essential core staff or even close down completely for a week or two.

However, not every business owner can afford the luxury of being able to shut down completely for the holidays. Indeed, some sectors, notably travel, leisure and hospitality, experience even greater demand for their services during the holiday season.

Using workforce management software will make it easier for you to handle holiday cover. It also avoids the risk of leaving your business understaffed or employees feeling demoralised if they can’t get time off.

Factors to consider

When drafting your holiday coverage schedule, there are many things to bear in mind:
·         Determine staffing requirements – Use Employee scheduling software to analyse past records in order to predict how much staff coverage you are likely to need during peak holiday periods. Summer months and Christmas are often slow for many industry sectors, so you may need fewer workers or be open for shorter hours.

·         Communicate clearly - Let staff know well in advance what is needed to keep the business running over the holiday period. Ensure they are aware of the company holiday policy, which days (if any) the business will be closed for the holidays and exceptionally busy periods when they cannot take time off.

·         Be flexible – Does everyone need to be physically present in the workplace? If working remotely is a viable option, some employees could spend more time with their families during the holidays and still get their jobs done.

·         Be fair - Most employees will want the same days off, but you should be aware that some may need more time off because they have to travel a long way to spend the holidays with their families. Using a software system that combines employee records with employee scheduling will keep managers aware of such special requirements.

·         Rotate holidays – Workforce management is far more likely to work without complaint at holiday time if employees know they won't be forced to do the same next year. Staff management software can help you to keep track of who took which days off during the holiday season so you can ask different people to provide cover over the holidays the following year.

How To Manage A Field Workforce More Efficiently

In today’s tough economic climate it has never been more important for service companies to find a competitive edge that will keep them ahead of others in their sector. This applies to any service that employs field staff - from cleaners to building maintenance services, service engineers and even IT specialists.
Whether you are a small cleaning company employing a dozen workers or a large contractor with several branches and fieldworkers nationwide, you need the right tools to stay on top.  A key priority is finding a workforce management software that is cost effective and simple to use.

Workforce Management Challenges

Managers need an effective workforce management system that enables real-time communication and gives them more control over all aspects of their field service teams: logging jobs, employee scheduling, dispatching jobs to their fieldworkers and statistical data.
Business owners who employ fieldworkers often find themselves struggling with day to day coordination and employee scheduling as their company grows or if they get a big new contract. Fortunately, a variety of specially-designed software packages are available these days to enable managers to cope with the challenges of workforce management. They could turn out to be far more cost effective than using manual employee scheduling systems as they require fewer staff to oversee the workforce.

Software solutions

Investing in workforce management software can help companies that employ field staff improve profitability by managing their workforce more efficiently and reduce the amount of paperwork. 
Such applications can often be tailored to best suit the needs of any field service company, providing employee scheduling managers with the features they need when they need them. This makes them suitable for almost any service company, whatever the budget or workforce size as the cost varies according to the number of users.
Employee scheduling software gives managers responsible for staff scheduling total control of their workforce by connecting key people in real-time through SMS, email notifications, iPhone and Android apps or secure access to a specific section of the company website.
Some cloud-based systems like Get Scheduled have the facility to create custom reports that increase productivity by providing up-to-date and detailed information on the field working team. Ideally, the workforce management software should also provide seamless integration with the company’s accounting software packages.

To succeed in a highly-competitive market, companies need to provide their customers with the best possible service and workforce management software most definitely helps them achieve this. 

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Tips To Help You Choose The Right Sport PR Agency

Whether you represent a small sport federation or are running a major international sporting event, it is essential to choose the right sports PR agency to represent you.  As a client, you need to feel certain that their strategy for promoting you will be compatible with your organisation’s goals. Otherwise you might run into serious problems along the way.

If you want to select a sports public relations agency that will do a fantastic job at promoting you there are several factors you need to consider:

Expertise and Experience – To ensure a successful PR campaign, you need a PR agency that knows the job inside and out, so the more experienced and well-established they are the better. As such, your safest bet would be to choose a London sports agency with several years of trading behind them.  If your budget is modest, you could consider hiring a newly established agency but this might turn out to be a bit of a gamble. Can you afford to take the chance?

Reputation - Ideally you want to hire a PR agency that has a proven track record of success, so do your research to find out who the leading sports public relations agencies are and what clients they deal with. When you have prepared a short list of PR agencies that might be suitable for your organisation, ask each one for contact details of other clients they have worked for. Make sure you speak to these former clients to find out about their experiences in dealing with that agency before you decide.

Connections - Your PR agency has to be able to raise your profile within the sports community as well as the general public, so ask them how well connected they are in your particular sector. It goes without saying that any reputable sport PR agency would have good press contacts but knowing the most influential people in the sporting world will help enormously if you expect to get results in a short time.

Specialisation – Few people really understand how complex the sports sector really is. PR agencies are all different and each will have its own strengths and weaknesses. Many sport PR firms are generalists while others focus on a few sports and events connected with them, so they are likely to be better connected and have in-depth knowledge of the sports they promote. To achieve success in your PR goals, you need to choose a PR agency that is familiar with your particular sport and understands the mind set as they will have a better idea of the best way to promote your organisation.

Big Advertising Builds Big Brands

When you are trying to build a brand, the bigger the better as far as promotion methods go, which is why big advertising works so well. Unlike other forms of promotion, Out Of Home advertising has not been affected too much by the recession. In fact, it is a growing and fast developing sector, with all types of large-scale advertising being more in demand now than ever.
Types of Big Advertising
The generic term big advertising is used to describe a wide variety of large format print as well as other forms of advertising display, including:
Billboards – Normally found on the side of motorways, in shopping malls and town centres, their sheer size and eye-catching designs means that billboards are impossible to ignore.  This makes billboard advertising ideal for conveying marketing messages to thousands of drivers and pedestrians.
Posters –Probably the oldest form of advertising, posters have been used for over 200 years to promote events and products. They are still widely employed today to promote everything from films and tourist destinations to political parties. Poster advertising is popular with advertisers because of their ability to reach thousands of consumers at a relatively low cost. Some iconic poster campaigns have become legendary, among them the ”Hello Boys” advert for Wonderbra and more recently the Littlewoods Mylene Klass bikini poster which stopped traffic in  Glasgow.
Banners – Advertising banners printed on long strips of PVC can be used to promote new store openings, venues and local services. Their unique ability to target local audiences makes them indispensible to small businesses seeking to attract customers in their area. Passing travellers and tourists often rely on banners to find food outlets, accommodation, events and local attractions.
Building Wraps - These are the largest form of OOH Advertising, enveloping frontages and sometimes even entire buildings. They are printed on perforated vinyl mesh which allows the wind to blow through with our tearing the wrap or damaging the infrastructure.  Major advertisers know that nothing beats a building wrap for sheer impact. John Lewis, official department store provider to the London 2012 Olympics, covered its flagship store on Oxford Street in a giant building wrap depicting a Union Flag to show its support for the UK team.

Digital Screens - Large outdoor advertising display panels are becoming increasingly common, not only in venues and public buildings, but also in the street. Often used in conjunction with TV advertising, they can display advertising videos to engage audiences and increase recall and brand awareness. With developments in electronic technology, interactive digital screens may soon be able to offer passing consumers a unique personalised experience that will make them engage with a brand as never before.

Friday, 19 July 2013

Why OOH Advertising is Booming

Out Of Home advertising appears to have bucked the trend, not only surviving the recession but actually enjoying increasing popularity. While budgets for press and TV advertising are slowly decreasing, more is being spent on OOH advertising than ever before.
This trend is likely to persist. With longer working hours and increased leisure opportunities, consumers are spending more time outside their homes than ever before. It is therefore likely that OOH advertising will continue to benefit from the opportunities being created to reach ever larger audiences.
Advantages of OOH Advertising
By means of OOH advertising, companies wishing to build a brand can reach large numbers of potential customers at a much lower cost than peak time TV advertising.
The sheer size of the medium allows advertisers to get creative and make an impact on their target audience. The vivid colours, striking images and punchy tag lines used ensure that consumers are more likely to remember the brands behind the campaigns.
From billboards at the side of major roads to a building wrap which envelops the frontage of an entire building, OOH advertising is everywhere.  It enables advertisers to draw consumers’ attention all day from the moment they step out of their home, thus reinforcing the marketing message.
Integration with Other Media
A growing number of brands are now choosing to integrate OOH advertising into their wider marketing campaigns. An excellent example is HTC’s recent ‘Exceptional’ campaign to mark the launch of the HTC One mobile phone in the UK.
HTC ran an interactive banner advertising design competition which offered many of the UK’s young creative a chance to have their work installed onto blowUP media’s Giant Posters promoting HTC One Mobile in major cities. This campaign was a huge hit with the public and industry leaders.
Bright future
Fashion advertising is a sector that particularly lends itself to large format advertising. The success enjoyed by many OOH campaigns for clothing brands and luxury goods means that these big budget advertisers will continue using OOH media for branding purposes and tactical campaigns.
OOH advertising is a rapidly evolving sector. It is likely that in the near future OOH media will become even larger and more innovative, offering consumers increased opportunity for engagement and  interaction.

In the coming years, innovative forms of OOH infrastructure, platforms and advances in technology, particularly the development of electronic media, will provide brands with an unprecedented opportunity to reach out to consumers and dominate urban landscapes.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Dealing With The Challenges Of International Sport PR

Sport is a worldwide phenomenon. It is watched and enjoyed by people in countries with vastly different economic and political situations, religions, cultures and levels of development. Today’s international sport PR professional must be aware of political and cultural differences, and how these can impact the way in which people relate to the PR messages they wish to convey.

So, what are the challenges of international PR in the sports industry?

Anyone attempting to communicate with international audiences will face obvious challenges such as geographic area, ethnic and religious diversity and linguistic barriers. Then there are challenges imposed by different political systems, especially in emerging markets.

Understanding local culture is the key to success in international sports PR. Cultural differences require distinctly different ways of communication to ensure that the PR message is perceived as relevant by local audiences.
Social media is presenting new challenges for international sports PR, creating a requirement for 24/7 vigilance and response. What if sports enthusiasts on the other side of the world post  negative comments about a sporting event on Facebook,  sports forum or Twitter and you do not have anyone in that time zone authorised to respond? The situation may have spiralled to crisis levels by the time you become aware of it several hours later.
Whether you are a sports federation or a well-known brand that sponsors athletes and international sporting events, you need a clear PR strategy that addresses all these challenges to ensure that you can meet the varying needs of your global audience.

Coping strategies

Awareness of the historical and ideological context of the region where you wish to promote your sport or event is crucial for international PR. To be successful globally, a sports PR agency must make sure that their messages would not be deemed irrelevant or inappropriate in certain places. What works well in Europe may not be so effective in the Far East or in predominantly Islamic regions. It pays to be well informed about sensitive issues and hot topics in target countries.

To prevent misunderstandings always use a professional translation service and have their work checked by a native speaker. This ensures that you will avoid embarrassing mistakes which would make your organisation appear unprofessional and may even cause unintended offence.

One way of overcoming language barriers is to use graphics and photos. Images are much easier for international audiences to understand and usually produce a greater emotional response as an added bonus. With advances in technology, video has become the medium of choice for sharing messages with worldwide audiences through social media channels, mainly YouTube and Twitter.

Finally, make sure you have a crisis procedure in place to cope with negative comments on social media and online news channels. This must include definition of what constitutes an issue, guidelines for responses that may be given locally and the escalation process if applicable.

How Small Businesses Can Manage Staff Schedules More Efficiently

Whatever the size and type of your business, staff management can be a time consuming and complicated task. Having to deal with filling shifts, cope with peak periods and fluctuations in demand and juggle holiday schedules can be a real headache, especially if internal communication systems leave a lot to be desired.

Unique Challenges

If you own or manage a small business, you will probably have to face comparatively more constraints than larger organisations. The issue of employee scheduling in particular can pose specific challenges. Those who run small firms often have to work with a limited budget so they can't afford errors, especially as scheduling employees is often their largest expense.
Employing seasonal or part-time workers may be cost efficient but it often means managers have to deal with a high turnover rate and complicated scheduling. If you find yourself in this position,   archaic methods for keeping track of employee schedules, using spreadsheets or even a paper-based system, just won’t do.

Off The Shelf Solutions

Large companies often commission customised software specially designed to cope with their specific employee scheduling challenges. Sadly, this is not an option for small businesses.
However, there is a solution to the staff scheduling problems faced by managers of smaller organisations. Help is at hand in the form of off-the-shelf staff management software, which is readily available.
These software programmes were created with the specific requirements of small business employee scheduling in mind. Proprietary employee scheduling software provides managers of small businesses with powerful tools enabling them to streamline their staff schedules and keep track of holiday requests using its in-built availability and leave calendar.

Improved Efficiency

If you run a small company you shouldn’t have to waste your valuable time juggling staff schedules. Employee scheduling software will save you a lot of time, which can be reinvested into growing your business and increasing profits. 
Using software for employee management will also help you to eliminate absenteeism and optimise your workforce so you can spend more time on the tasks that matter most to your business.  Employee scheduling software offers other benefits too as it makes it easier for you to keep to a strict budget.

Better Communication

For a small business to succeed, it is vital to have an efficient system of communication between managers and employees to ensure that the business is properly staffed at all times. By making use of the powerful communication features the software packages offer, managers will find it easy to communicate with employees so work shifts can be quickly adapted to meet changing customer demand.

How To Manage A Global Workforce

For many companies, the pressure to compete effectively has led to a dramatic increase in the size and geographical spread of their workforce. This places huge demands on Human Resources management, particularly with regards to workforce scheduling.

Workforce Management Challenges

Communicating with and scheduling employees across many time zones in different geographical locations and often in different languages can present huge challenges. To guarantee optimal staff deployment, current and future staffing requirements, skills, staff availability, holidays, peak workloads, budget allowances as well as wages and contractual terms have to be integrated into the workforce management procedure.
Effective workforce management means assigning the right employees with the right skills to the right job at the right time. To achieve this, those responsible for global workforce management must have a computerised process  designed to cover multiple locations that addresses their organisation's employee scheduling challenges and helps  them control labour costs.

Scheduling Software
These days, managers responsible for workforce scheduling on a worldwide basis have access to specialised integrated, demand-oriented workforce management software that helps them to keep track of a global workforce. Such software solutions typically offer various options for planning evaluation in real-time, enabling fast reaction to deviations from the forecasted demand for staff, which prevents problems with over or understaffing.
Generally speaking, workforce management software packages are used for:

 Employee scheduling, skills and locations
·         Integration of employees’ details and skills into the scheduling process
·         Forecasting of workload and  staff requirements
·         Management of working times and shifts
·         Analysis and monitoring of costs and budgets

Financial Modelling

Accurate financial modelling of projects and associated budgets is another major consideration in workforce management. In addition to the core aspects of global workforce management, scheduling software is invaluable for predicting staffing requirements.
By analysing historical data such as sales figures, the number of customer contacts, check-out transactions or orders to be processed, scheduling software systems can assist in establishing likely demand. The calculated forecast values can then be converted into actual staffing requirements.

Benefits of Workforce Management Software

The development of sophisticated scheduling software has had a tremendous impact on the management of global workforces. Its implementation has an enormous effect on budgets by slashing administrative costs associated with staffing, scheduling, and managing employee work schedules. Additional cost saving is seen in reduction of overtime, over/under staffing and scheduling conflicts.

Workforce management systems give human resources managers instant access to information on scheduling, cost and employee availability. This enables them to make faster and better informed decisions so they can respond quickly to changing demands.

Thursday, 11 July 2013

How to Incorporate Poster Advertising Into Wider Advertising Campaigns

With the current renewal of interest in all forms of Out Of Home advertising, the large format poster is now a rising star. Public perception has changed and this is now used as an effective method of helping to build a brand. It isn’t hard to see why.

Poster advertising benefits location owners and advertisers alike in being able to engage large numbers of customers for relatively low cost. It also extends the scope and effectiveness of marketing messages to influence target audiences that are normally harder to reach.

Large outdoor poster advertising is becoming more innovative, larger and more creative. As technology continues to develop, interactive campaigns will boost the medium to new levels, making it an indispensible element of any integrated marketing strategy.

Integration Into Wider Campaigns

A growing number of brands are now choosing to integrate poster advertising into their wider marketing campaigns. The synergy created by combining large outdoor posters with press, TV and radio advertising reinforces the marketing message and increases campaign awareness among the general public to unprecedented levels.

As the digital market continues to gain importance and become the dominant force in today’s marketing world, some companies have sought to combine this with more traditional forms of publicity. Large eye-catching posters displaying a website or number to call for more information provide a call-to-action for consumers. This ensures true follow-through for advertisers and offers consumer a further opportunity for engagement with the brand.

Case Study

HTC’s recent ‘Exceptional’ campaign is a perfect example of the way poster advertising has been successfully combined with other promotional methods, both online and offline, to build a brand. It demonstrates the power of Giant Posters and how effective they can be when used as part of a larger integrated campaign.
In order to mark the launch of the HTC One mobile phone in the UK, HTC launched an online competition to find seven different banner designs that were to be installed onto blowUP media’s Giant Posters in some of the UK’s biggest urban centres.

The Giant Poster campaign provided an outstanding platform for many of the UK’s young creatives to have their work displayed on one of the largest possible advertising formats. It was rolled out in seven cities in the UK across sites that tally over 2500sqm in size – more than 20 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

This method of banner advertising, combined with the interactive element of the campaign, made it a huge hit with the public and industry leaders. It has been estimated that HTC’s giant posters were seen by over 7,796,184 people.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

How Advances in Online Communication are Changing Sports PR Practice

In the past ten years, the internet has totally revolutionised the practice of every aspect of public relations, and sports PR is no exception to this. The technological revolution has not only changed the way PR agencies communicate but has changed the very nature of communication.

Readership of  printed newspapers and magazines has plummeted as the vast majority of us now hear about events and incidents through online and social media news sources. Many traditional media outlets have experienced declining circulation, though some have capitalised on new trends by offering free and subscription-based online tablet-friendly versions of their publications to their readers. The majority of journalists and PR professionals now believe that the "death" of traditional newspapers is inevitable and most will no longer exist in 10-15 years’ time.

As readership shifts from traditional to online media, so has the focus of many tech savvy sports public relations professionals. To get their clients’ message across to sports fans and the media, sports PR agencies these days must explore the use of new technologies. These could include social media sites (such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and Flickr), social bookmarking, virtual communities, blogs and information sharing sites.

Online vs. Traditional PR                               

Online PR is the process of making sure your sport or event gets mentioned on as many other websites as possible in just the same way as offline PR ensures your sport is mentioned in as many newspapers as possible.

Online PR is one of the most cost-effective marketing communications methods for all types of sports.  It allows athletes and sports organizations to communicate directly with sports enthusiasts and the general public so they can get their message across without having to rely solely on traditional publications and broadcast media.

New Ways of Communication

Widespread use of social media has made the environment in which sports PR agencies now have to operate far more transparent. Increasingly, sport PR agencies and sports organisations are responding by utilising live transmissions and social media channels, such as blogs, podcasts and video-blogging, to reach out to sports fans.

Online PR involves reaching out to bloggers and the public in a totally different way. Bloggers are not professional journalists. They are not used to dealing with press releases so it is unlikely that they will even read them, let alone cover your story. PR agencies need to build and nurture relationships to get results from social media and blogs.

Finally, PR practitioners must be conscious of implementing a crisis management strategy. Social media has greatly increased the speed at which news breaks, with major events and stories being spoken about online seconds after they occur. This makes it vital to have a quick response crisis management strategy to handle negative press stories or social media comments about individuals, events or sports federations.

How to Manage a Virtual Workforce

The workplace, as we know it, is changing rapidly. Geographic expansion into emerging markets in places like China and Brazil plus the need for specialised professional skills, especially in IT, have forced many companies to employ virtual staff worldwide.

Indeed, when you consider the expense of renting offices or the time and cost involved in commuting to work, remote working could soon become the norm even for smaller local firms. Virtual teams of telecommuters, outsourcers and contractors can work from anywhere, anytime without regard to geographic boundaries or time zones.

However, managing virtual teams is easier said than done.  Employee scheduling when your workforce is spread across multiple locations and in many different roles can present managers with huge challenges. The problem is compounded if they are dealing with different languages as well.

Financial management and analysis is another area requiring careful consideration.  Accurate financial modelling of projects and associated budgets is vital if remote working teams are to be deployed cost effectively. Finance departments also need to keep an eye on and manage individual, shift and position remuneration rates of remote workers to maintain tight control on costs.

Effective communication is vital when managing a remote workforce and managers should not hesitate to exploit advances in collaboration technology.  This includes scheduling software, shared directories, email, instant messaging, audio and video conferencing, etc.

Workforce management software has been developed for virtual workforces to enable communication via automated notifications or specific correspondence to individuals and groups. These surprisingly low-cost solutions ensure that remote teams are productive and eective.

Employing a self-service User Portal will allow staff to check their own shifts from a computer, smartphone or tablet 24/7. They can also advise supervisors of their availability, accept assignments and update their own personal work rota.

The eective use of employee scheduling software is key to successful management of remote working staff. It enables organisations to maximise the efficiency of staff allocation by deploying workers according to their individual skills and competencies.

Some employee scheduling programmes enable remote check-in/out via smartphone, PC or even SMS. This ensures that remote workers are in the right place at the right time, reduces time and money spent on back office administration and enhances customer service levels.

Large operations need to deploy specially-designed software that allows management of multiple projects, events, shifts and locations in a single system.  This type of workforce management software often provides Scheduling Conflict Verification to eliminate error and highlight potential problems with resourcing. Maximum productivity can be achieved by making such information available 24/7 to authorised managers who have the assigned access levels.

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Should Athletes Pay Back Their Lottery Funding?

Last week The Mail online’s sidebar of shame made me think (and that’s not a sentence you can write often). A reader had commented on a story referencing a British Olympian’s ‘reported income’, posing the question that if the ‘reported’ earnings were correct – or even half correct – then was the athlete concerned required to repay their lottery funding? The athlete concerned probably wasn’t too thrilled with their income being tabloid fodder but that is a whole different sports PR question.

The issue of funding repayment is hardly an unfair one, especially given the economic times we find ourselves in now. Students repay their loans once they hit a certain income bracket so why shouldn’t we ask the same of any sports person who has been the beneficiary of funding? Athletes receive funded income in two ways; their governing bodies are given between £30,000 and £55,000 per athlete – on a sliding scale subject to their ‘podium’ potential – to pay for support services such as coaching, warm weather training, access to sports medicine etc. Athletes are then gifted another £13,800 to £27,700 directly each. Clearly this isn’t megabucks but given the average salary in the UK is £27,500, it isn’t too shoddy either.

Few people question the dedication and sacrifice it takes to become an elite athlete but plenty of people work incredibly hard without the prospect of increased fame and fortune. It is churlish to object to any money that comes with hard-earned success but nor is it unreasonable to ask high-earners to repay grants or funding from the public purse if those helped them get to where they are financially.

Many sports people do a huge amount to help and inspire others, especially school children. The cynical suggest that this is pure sports PR company spin but usually athletes willing to undertake this type of work take huge pleasure in it. Remember the picture of a pre-teen Laura Trott meeting Bradley Wiggins? The look on both their faces may be a sports PR dream but is something you can’t fake. Athletes love their sports and they love it when other people love the sport too. However, the way the current UK system operates means that we are relying on ad hoc acts of goodwill when really it is good funding that delivers international sporting success. As beneficiaries of the system it would be hard, on that basis, to see why successful sports stars would resent being asked to pay back.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Why Fashion Advertisers Love Large Format Outdoor Posters

From the onset the fashion industry was one of the first to embrace the medium of outdoor poster advertising. Over a hundred years later, nothing has changed. Fashion advertising still accounts for a high proportion of the large format OOH advertisements we see today, displayed on posters and billboards everywhere.
Indeed, the latest trendy clothing brands are following the example of more established fashion companies and dedicating an ever-increasing portion of their advertising spend to OOH advertising.

Memorable Fashion Poster Advertising Campaigns

Who could forget Wonderbra’s Hello Boys campaign back in the 1994? The poster campaign saw model Eva Herzigova pose simply in her underwear, with the image spread across 96-sheet billboards across the country.

Another big hit was David Beckham’s iconic 2009 Armani underwear ad. From 6 sheets on the London Underground to a 6-storey giant poster on Selfridge’s in London’s Oxford Street, this campaign was a hot topic of discussion worldwide, resulting in extensive media coverage for both Golden Balls himself and the Armani brand.

As the official department store provider to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, John Lewis made a grand patriotic gesture by enveloping their flagship Oxford St stores in a huge building wrap featuring the union flag to show their support for British athletes. The exterior of the Stratford City store overlooking the Olympic park was decked with giant vinyl stickers featuring fashion accessories. The OOH display continued the gold medal theme of John Lewis’s print advertising campaign and generated considerable media coverage.

More recently, Myleene Klass’ Littlewoods campaign received much attention at the beginning of the year when it was erected on a 472m sq giant poster at Union Street in Glasgow. The super-size Littlewoods poster advertising campaign with the image of her dressed simply in a bikini was most certainly attention grabbing and was seen by nearly 750,000 shoppers and passers-by in Glasgow city centre. 

Change of Emphasis

Why are more and more fashion advertisers turning away from standard advertising in print and broadcast media?  Newspaper readership is rapidly declining and over-saturation of traditionally placed advertisements lacking true originality has rendering most TV advertising ineffective. The target audience automatically filters out adverts and even takes advantage of new technology to skip them on recordings of TV programmes.

Jaded consumers who are being continually bombarded with advertising messages crave novelty. The understanding is clear for fashion brands: they must cater to their audience’s desire for innovation by seeking alternative formats for distributing their brand message.

Fashion brands are willing to pay a premium for innovative forms of advertising that build genuine emotional connections with individual consumers. That is why they are so keen to take advantage of the latest developments in OOH advertising. Nothing beats well designed eye -catching fashion advertising posters for getting up close and personal with local communities.

5 Tips for Managing Staff Holiday Requests

Ensuring adequate staff cover and dealing with employee holiday requests can be a nightmare. Apart from the usual holiday entitlements, employers have to take into consideration workers on fixed-term contracts; part-time employees; staff on maternity, adoption or parental leave; starters and leavers etc.

The best way to avoid workforce management problems during the holidays is to be prepared. Implementing the correct procedures will enable you to allow time off to those who request holiday leave whilst ensuring that your organisation still has enough staff to operate effectively at all times.

Here are five tips to help you deal with the holiday problem:

1.     Plan ahead - Large organisations often ask employees to submit  their holiday requests for the coming year in January so they can ensure adequate cover for peak holiday periods. Even smaller companies need to plan holiday schedules three to five months in advance. Using an appropriate software programme will make it a lot easier to organise your 'Availability and Leave Calendar' well in advance for the whole year.

2.     Ensure staff are aware of the company holiday policy - Let staff know well in advance which days (if any) are company holidays, especially if you run a small business and plan to shut down completely over Christmas or during less busy weeks in summer. Likewise, if you have deadlines to meet or exceptionally busy periods, employees should be aware that they cannot take time off.

3.     Have a holiday request deadline - Make it clear that holiday requests should be made a specified period in advance and any applications submitted after the deadline may not be approved. This prevents staff requesting time off at the last minute and then feeling frustrated if their holiday requests are turned down.

4.     First come, first served -To prevent staff shortages during peak holiday periods like summer and Christmas, you need to cap the number of people that can take time off. Letting staff know that holiday requests will be allocated on a “first come” basis will encourage them to submit their holiday requests as early as possible and make employee scheduling easier.

5.     Create a fair and balanced schedule - If several employees want the same days off, ask them to collaborate and work out a holiday work schedule. This avoids resentment and encourages collaborative teamwork. Other ways of allocating peak season holidays fairly include a lottery system and prioritising employees who meet sales and productivity targets.

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

The Benefits of Off-the-Shelf Workforce Management Software

Many smaller companies and event organizers are now opting for off-the-shelf software packages when it comes to workforce management – a more cost-effective option to many companies that might not have the budget for bespoke packages tailored to their specific needs. This is an affordable yet effective option for those looking to centralize their employee scheduling and automate their workforce communication.

There’s no doubt that employee scheduling and workforce management is tough, regardless of your company size. Off-the-shelf workforce management software provides a precise yet flexible approach to workforce communication and covers key areas such as staff management, scheduling, messages, notifications, specific user portals and a comprehensive reporting system. Having all of these on one cloud-based system allows 
companies to cut down on their personnel, resulting in big savings.

The great thing about off-the-shelf software is that different sized packages can be used for different sized workforces. There’s no need to pay for what you potentially wouldn’t use – you simply pay for what you need for the size of your workforce. For example, you can usually sign up for packages that are available for up to 100, 250, 500 and over 500 active users, with prices varying accordingly. An active user is someone that is either scheduled to a shift or have logged on to their user profile during a given month. On top of that, an off-the-shelf package provides you with the ability to have a number of stored contacts varying from 1,000 to 5,000. Contacts are regarded as a unique user’s record that is stored in the system, but isn’t necessarily active. Contracts may also be taken out on either an annual or bi-annual basis, thus making it an even more flexible option. This is also a huge benefit in an unstable economic climate as companies are able to revise their personal financial circumstances every six months rather than annually.  

Employee scheduling software can really make a difference to a company or an event and enable it to run as seamlessly as possible.  The software enables managers to identify and predict demands, which means that employees will be available and ready to complete the tasks appointed to them there and then, as the system takes into account their availability and skills. In addition to this, the great thing is that your workforce will be able to access all this information remotely, using smartphones or tablets for example - a cutting-edge approach to managing a modern-day workforce.