Is the future of digital marketing a virtual one?

The Experience Economy

The term “experience economy” was first coined by B. Joseph Pine II and James H. Gilmore who used it in an article describing it as the “next economy to follow the service economy” back in 1998. The idea is that businesses engineer memorable events for its consumers so that the memory of the experience itself becomes the product. The more advanced the experience, the more value and engagement can be derived from this transformative experience.

Luxury brands have been providing immersive offline experiences for many years now. For example, Givenchy perfume had a cocktail makeover to celebrate its L’atelier collection of fragrances.

According to research, four out of five Americans attended a live event spanning from entertainment-focused concerts to cause-related rallies (with 89% or nine out of ten millennials attending at least one live event within the past 12 months). This rise in preference for live experiences is driven by a strong desire to connect with something or someone.

The rapid pace of developing technologies has resulted in companies being able to deliver increasingly innovative customer experiences. From a digital marketing perspective, this has led in taking user experiences (UX) to new levels.

The brands and digital marketing agencies who can respond quickest to the changing trends will be the ones that thrive in a highly immersive, interactive, and sharable reality.

Introducing the New Virtual Experience Economy

With the recent acceleration of virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and mixed reality (MR) technologies, the experience economy will soon shift from one that is based on real-world human interaction and information on the internet, to a platform where immersive experiences can be accessed.

These digital experiences are expected to eventually carry the same weight as real-life experiences – however, they are far more scalable too. Furthermore, this new era will usher in a vast virtual world where the usual constraints of the physical world like accessibility, cost, and consumer capability no longer apply.

According to a study conducted by Greenlight VR, 71% of the 1,300 adults surveyed felt that brands who had embraced VR appeared “modern” and “forward-thinking.” Furthermore, another 53% stated that they were:

“more likely to make purchases from brands that utilised VR rather than ones that didn’t”.

In fact, the economic impact of VR technologies is projected to reach $15.9 billion by 2020 and global VR software and hardware market size is expected to grow to $40.4 billion by the same year.

If VR’s current impact on the experience economy is anything to go by, the future will push the limits of our digital marketing and experience economy imaginations.

So, how brands are utilising this innovative technology today?

The country leading this space with their innovations is (not surprisingly) China who adopted VR technology before anyone else. As a result, digital marketers seeking inspiration (or those who are just interested in the virtual experience economy) need to keep an eye on the Far East.

Here are two quick examples of VR campaigns that proved to be incredibly successful

Alibaba Buy+ VR Shopping Experience

In November 2016, Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba launched Buy+ at Alibaba’s Singles’ Day which also happens to be the biggest online retail event on the planet. Buy+ is a virtual shopping app that enables shoppers to browse and shop from anywhere in the world.

The Buy+ VR experience allowed Chinese shoppers to virtually transport themselves to shop at Macy’s in New York City. While this event was a powerful indication of what’s to come, it was also a significant event because Alibaba’s Singles’ Day facilitated online transactions that amounted to $17.8 billion in a single day.

The North Face Dog-Sledging Experience

In South Korea, The North Face store incorporated a VR stunt at their retail outlets to help sell winter coats. Customers at the store were encouraged to test out potential winter wear before leaving the store. Those who agreed were asked to sit down in a dog-sledge and then strap on a pair of Oculus Rift virtual reality goggles. Suddenly, they were swept away in a VR adventure surrounded by beautiful snowscapes, led by a pack of huskies.

The North Face is well known for their stunts in South Korea as they have done it before with a disappearing floor in their pop-up store. This highly imaginative stunt forced unsuspecting customers to engage in activities like rock climbing.

You can bet that these types of highly immersive experiences will be remembered by those customers for years to come. When brands achieve that, then they are creating successful campaigns in the new virtual experience economy.

The West is catching up

Despite the far east leading the way, the West is taking notice and is catching up fast. For example, the fast food industry giant, McDonald’s, provided immersive virtual experiences with a VR initiative in Sweden where Happy Meals boxes were turned into VR headsets reminiscent of Google Cardboard.   These Happy Goggles” allowed users to play a virtual reality skiing game which enabled the company to enhance engagement and brand value by delivering “fun” experiences.

We can see marketing elements sprinkled all around these initiatives, but what does this mean for the future of digital marketing?

The Death of Online Advertising as We Know it

According to Arnaud Dazin, CEO of San Francisco-based ADVR, a pioneer in immersive advertising, the death of online advertising has been a long time coming. VR and AR technology just represent the final nails on the coffin.

If you look at the current state of digital marketing, most brands want to engage and build loyalty with millennials or Generation Y and Generation Z who make up as much as 46.4% percent of the U.S. market.

In addition, VR and AR technology can produce immersive advertising experiences that can transform and deliver large-scale results. Subsequently, we should expect more advertisers to take advantage of AR and the ubiquity of our latest tech (such as our increasingly powerful smartphones), to create new, innovative and exciting experiences.

Consumers can now utilise VR and AR technology to engage with their real environments too and with a product or service at the same time. This can be seen in IKEA’s ARKit appwhere customers try out the furniture in their own living spaces via a tablet or phone. If customers feel like the furniture compliments their living area, they can purchase it immediately.

The key is experience and entertainment

However, it is essential that digital marketers remember that the experience also needs to entertain the consumer. The experience of VR itself is unlikely to be enough, so it is essential that digital marketers recognise that they need to focus on the entertainment element for any campaign to successfully engage its audience. This means that campaigns should no longer be an ad by itself; instead, they need to become pieces of entertainment in-and-of-itself. Subsequently, consumers shouldn’t expect to have CTAs (Calls to Action) popping up in their faces. Instead, content should be highly engaging and exciting and experience-led.

In the new and growing virtual experience economy, brands need to invite participation within mass experiences in a manner that minimises intrusion.

As VR hardware and application development becomes less cost-prohibitive, you can expect this space to become highly competitive as smaller businesses join in. Subsequently, as the market becomes more crowded, brands and digital marketers will need to work harder and get more creative by exploring avenues such as integrated in-game advertising that utilises data from the player’s social networking profile (to deliver ads that are highly relevant).

Subtle new virtual experiences will also create a new dimension for brands to consider creative product placements.

With multiple media channels competing for the attention of the same individuals, the element of trust will become more and more critical in ensuring that content is consumed by digital marketing target audiences.

While it might sound strange to perceive marketing or advertising as something that must delight and entertain the audience, that is precisely the future of marketing.  Welcome to the Virtual Reality World of Experience Economy Marketing…

What do you think?



Why not visit our website where you can access more marketing articles, FREE Marketing whitepapers and more!

This article was written by Nick Day, Managing Director at JGA Marketing Recruitment – a boutique agency with a “quality over quantity” approach to creative recruitment practices.

If you are looking for expert talent in the fields of Marketing, Social, Search, Creative or Digital fields, then please call me or email me and I would be delighted to discuss how we can help.

Nick Day | Managing Director

JGA Marketing Recruitment

Email: | Tel: 01727 800 377


Image: Photo by Giu Vicente on Unsplash

Diversity in the worlplace

Is a lack of employee diversity hindering marketing success?

Let me start this article by saying that a) promoting diversity within all walks of life is something I am very passionate about which leads me to b) I know that many of you will feel you are doing all you can to promote diversity already (if you are one of these companies – please shout about it in the comments!). However, the stats suggest not all businesses are doing enough and therefore, in order for real change to occur, we need to encourage more transparency and promote more proactive change. I hope this short article will provide some statistical analysis and thought-provoking encouragement for more businesses to take action. Let me know what you think and if you can, please take a step-forward by commenting and sharing this article if you agree my conclusions. Enjoy…

Controversial marketing campaigns in recent years have raised many questions about the marketing industry as well as the people signing-off on campaigns and decisions that have sparked outrage from consumers. (If you are not familiar with any such campaigns, I recommend you do your own online research into campaigns signed off by Dove or Nivea or even Uber for that matter and you will see why).

The fact is, both financially and morally, companies should be doing more to ensure diversity is represented within marketing and creative departments. Research conducted by Opinium Research (1). indicates that 55% of IT SMEs in the UK said they would be more likely to do business with another company known for its inclusive employment strategies, which further strengthens the business argument for promoting diversity within marketing structures of companies. And yet, despite these reasons, there is still a lack of diversity represented.

Having the presence of a diverse range of people in your creative department not only makes financial sense, but it would also help to ensure that sensitives are not overlooked during the development of campaigns and thus provide more trust and relatability towards your brand from consumers.

In addition, we live in a world that is more interconnected than ever, so surely it would be wise for businesses to consider the diversity concerns that exist as part of its marketing strategy, if it wishes to connect with a broad, multi-cultural demographic? The reality is however, that this is not happening as much as it should be. Working in Marketing Recruitment, I get to see organisational structures for all types of businesses and it is evident that companies need to do more to reflect diversity within its marketing operations – especially at management levels. By doing so, a business could easily increase its prospects of a return on investment (2). For example, by establishing a return on investment (ROI) based approach to diversifying a creative department, a business can increase its pool of ideas and creativity and improve the range of perspectives and experiences at its disposal to create campaigns that appeal to broader audiences.

The presence of ethnic minorities

As much as businesses may deny any negative bias in relation to recruitment, the fact of the matter is, I have seen first-hand how the cycle of reserving most of the senior marketing positions for people who are predominantly male, white, and middle-aged continues.  When you combine this with the limited presence of women and ethnic minorities in senior marketing positions, it highlights that there must be both positive and negative bias (3) that exists within recruitment processes of marketing and creative departments. The prejudices around gender as well as the attitudes towards ethnic minorities (4) also serves as an explanation for the lukewarm pace in addressing diversity concerns within the senior ranks of marketing operations.

However, this should not be the case. On the contrary, it is likely hindering marketing success.  For example, an independent review of race in the workplace carried out by Lady Ruby McGregor-Smith on behalf of the UK government, estimated that by ensuring full representation of ethnic minorities in the workplace, including senior roles, this could boost the British economy by £24 billion (5). Furthermore, research by McKinsey and Company revealed that businesses with the presence of ethnic minorities within the leadership structure were 33% more likely to outperform their peers on profitability (6).

The Gender Pay Gap Continues

A recent study conducted by Marketing Week (7) recently highlighted that there is still a long way to go to redress the gender pay gap too. The 2019 Marketing Week Career and Salary Survey showed that women are still earning less than men across every sector and at every level of seniority.  This is unacceptable on all grounds – ethical, moral and financial. In fact, this gender pay gap is more than likely hindering business success rather than saving in employee salaries.

There are many studies that highlight the added value for companies that diversify the gender set up of their executive teams so it is important businesses start to do more to redress the balance and improve.  In fact, when considering employment, 56% of women look at whether the organisation publicly shares its progress on diversity (8) – so perhaps this would be a good place for businesses to start?  There is a battle for talent right now (I should know as I am tasked with locating it) so this is one step a business can take right now if it wants to improve its ability to attract the best marketing employees to its brand. If you are proud and transparent with your diversity and inclusion metrics then promote them, by doing so, you could strengthen both your employer brand and credibility and boost your competitive edge at the same time, helping you ensure you win the race for the best talent available in a competitive marketplace.

So why, despite the strong indicators regarding the benefits associated with encouraging a diverse workforce, do we still see such disparity and under-representation?

Age discrimination – Too old for tech?

There is a tendency, especially within marketing departments, for recruiters and hiring manager to focus solely on attracting the millennial demographic. This was indicated in an interview with the HubSpot founder who claimed that:

“in the tech world, grey hair and experience are really overrated”.

This begs the question of how prevalent views such as this may exist within the industry and if this impacts the access older workers have to securing marketing related positions (9).

The fact of the matter is the population in the UK that is aged 65 is increasing and so when you combine this knowledge with the purchasing power of this demographic (10) it suggests there should be potential financial benefits in diversifying the creative department of your company with the inclusion of older professionals too. By tapping into the wealth of experience and knowledge of this age group, this will enhance your company’s ability to connect with a growing ageing consumer base.

I may be being harsh so I would like to highlight that there are success stories…

  1. Sodexo: A landmark lawsuit on the grounds of racism in the workplace saw services company, Sodexo, pay $80 million to former employees who brought the case to court.(11) Since then, the company has invested in many diversity and inclusion programs within the company and now has ethnic minorities in 14.5% of the senior leadership positions as well as a strong female presence on the executive board. Indeed, Dr Rohini Anand, the company’s Senior Vice-President and Global Chief Diversity Officer noted that “for every $1 it has invested in mentoring, it has seen a return of $19”.(12)
  2. Accenture: Accenture became the first consultancy firm to publish data regarding employee diversity (13). Also, the company developed a business which saw the success of its Diverse Supplier Development Program, a venture which engages with small and medium-sized companies to incorporate them in the Accenture supply chain. This venture reported a 30% increase from total procurement spends from expanding their suppliers. (14)
  3. Livity: The London based agency which centres on promoting diversity and inclusion, it is part of the Hospital Club Hot 100 and BIMA Entrepreneurial Business of the Year. Promoting inclusion and diversity from the top down, the company works with people from diverse backgrounds and links them with businesses that are keen to diversify. (15)

Conclusion – let’s encourage diversification, transparency and improve marketing success at the same time!

I think my views are pretty apparent within this article, however, I think a summary is needed to drill home the points.

  1. If businesses continue to limit the presence of a particular demographic within senior positions, then they will lose the opportunity to have fresh perspectives on ideas for strengthening marketing success.
  2. By failing to diversify creative departments, a business risks missing the mark concerning its ability to gain wide appeal to broad consumer bases, subsequently affecting the reputation or brand appeal of the company.
  3. With the growing importance of social media acting between companies and the consumer, it is now more essential than ever that companies create a relatable and personable presence online if they wish to achieve marketing success.
  4. By encouraging transparency in relation to diversity and inclusion, your brand will be more attractive to talented marketing professionals seeking new opportunities. Subsequently, it could help your business to secure a competitive edge in the current marketing war that exists when it comes to securing and attracting the best talent.
  5. Companies should not underestimate the purchasing power of certain demographic groups. For example, ethnic minorities have the purchasing power of over £300 billion in the UK (16), women are responsible for 83% of all shopping purchases (17) and the UK population aged 65 and over will account to £1 in every £4 spent by 2030 (18). These are striking figures which indicates strong margins of profitability for companies willing to embrace diversity proactively.
  6. With less than 20 women in CEO positions on the FTSE 250; it is obvious that the UK still has a long to go. It raises the question of whether negative perceptions regarding the capabilities of women in senior positions, similar to the controversial views aired by the former Saatchi & Saatchi boss (19), are still acting as a barrier for women to attain more of a presence in senior positions.

If the reasons for a lack of diversity isn’t down to negative bias then what is it that is stopping all businesses from introducing a top-down approach to promoting diversity and inclusion? Businesses need to take an empowered approach to promoting diversity – if they can do this then they will be making an essential step towards driving effective and long-term change that will not only benefit its brand, creative capabilities and reputation; but will also improve its global appeal and its bottom-line profits.

What do you think? By Commenting, Liking and Sharing, we can make a collective difference. Let’s get involved!



Why not visit our website where you can access more marketing articles,  FREE Marketing whitepapers and more!

This article was written by Nick Day, Managing Director at JGA Marketing Recruitment – a boutique agency with a “quality over quantity” approach to creative recruitment practices.

If you are looking for expert talent in the fields of Marketing, Social, Search, Creative or Digital fields, then please call me or email me and I would be delighted to discuss how we can help.

Nick Day | Managing Director

JGA Marketing Recruitment

Email: | Tel: 01727 800 377


1 Opinium Research –

2 Diversity Best Practices –

3 The Royal Society –

4 The New York Times –

5 The McGregor- Smith Review –

6 McKinsey and Company –

7 Marketing Week –

8 PwC –

9 Financial Review:

11 AGE UK –

11 Corp Watch –

12 Diversity Best Practice –

13 Fortune –

14 Accenture –

15 The drum –

16 IPA –

17 The independent –

18 Retail think tank study –

19 The Guardian –

IMAGE: Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

In a World of Great Social Sites, Is LinkedIn Still the Best Platform for Driving B2B Sales?


Marketers have to manage multiple campaigns across a variety of social media sites. Sometimes it can become a challenge because of continually changing algorithms. Whenever that happens, it can make even the savviest B2B marketers anxious.

For example, Facebook and Twitter recently changed their algorithms to boost user experience. However, these same changes have more or less limited the organic reach of posts (from brands) which in turn restrict their ability to generate sales leads on these platforms.

However, B2B marketers need not stress as LinkedIn is still the leading social media site for driving B2B sales. In fact, it’s still a goldmine for generating leads and driving traffic to company websites through promoted thought leadership content.

Why Does LinkedIn Continue to Dominate B2B Marketing?

LinkedIn continues to reign supreme within the B2B marketing space because people use it differently when compared other social networks. For example, people invest time in LinkedIn because they’re looking to solve professional problems.

So if your content has all the answers they’re looking for, you’re more than likely to get some excellent results. This is evidenced by the fact that 80% of B2B leads are generated from LinkedIn. It’s also the primary reason why 94% of B2B marketers use LinkedIn to engage potential clients with relevant content.

If you’re still not convinced, take a look at the following statistics:

  • 46% of social media traffic to corporate websites originate from LinkedIn
  • 79% of marketers consider LinkedIn to be the most effective source for generating B2B leads
  • 43% of marketers state that they have sourced at least one customer via LinkedIn
  • 51% of companies have acquired a user via LinkedIn

As a result, it’s safe to conclude that LinkedIn, home to over 500 million users and three million businesses across 200 countries, is still by far the best platform for driving B2B sales.



Still don’t believe me?

Let’s take a look at the percentage of B2B leads that have been generated through social media networks:

  • LinkedIn – 80.33%
  • Facebook – 6.73%
  • Google+ – 0.21%
  • Twitter – 12.73%

So if you’re hoping to drum up some new business and you’re looking for new customers in the market, LinkedIn is definitely the place to be.

In fact, it should be the first place to look for new customers. This is because engaging with a potential client on this social platform can boost the chances of them buying from you by as much as 50%.

How Do B2B Marketers Leverage LinkedIn to Generate Sales?

Running a successful marketing campaign on LinkedIn or any other social media network starts with strategy. When you formulate a robust strategy, you’ll be able to ensure that your marketing endeavors stay on point.

However, regardless of the marketing strategy you choose to go with, you should only use this professional social network to engage with your peers, followers, and prospective clients with content that’s relevant to them. This can be achieved by posting compelling brand stories or thought leadership pieces.

Once the content is ready, an excellent approach is to post these on group discussions. This is a great tactic to get potential customers to start a dialog with you. However, whenever you do this, be aware that your competition will be doing the same.

Although it can be highly competitive, it’s certainly worth the investment because LinkedIn is the most popular social media platform for Fortune 500 companies. In fact, according to a study of 488 companies, a whopping 98% were using LinkedIn regularly.

Research suggests that discussion groups are the most effective places to post your “lead generating” content:

  • Company Pages – 0.59% of posts (10.07% of conversions)
  • Discussion Groups – 96% of posts (86.30% of conversions)
  • Personal Profiles – 3% of posts (3.63% of conversions)

Unlike the retail market, B2B sales and purchasing cycles are long and involve a large amount of money. So it’s quite natural for potential customers to gather as much information as possible before making a commitment.

Getting involved in group discussions helps B2B marketers provide relevant information to potential buyers in various stages in the buying cycle. It’s also an approach that can provide additional leads like email addresses in a non-intrusive way.

From LinkedIn video ads to Sponsored InMail ads, the platform offers a wide range of advertising opportunities through the LinkedIn Campaign Manager. However, it’s important to identify decision makers and create a roadmap that will effectively support your marketing plan.

While all the tools available on this platform are useful, it’ll be critical to use the right approach when targeting a potential B2B customer. If you have ever received an irrelevant sponsored message on this platform, you’ll know what I’m talking about.

While LinkedIn continues to be derided, B2B marketers shouldn’t be fooled. If you let that happen, you will undoubtedly end up overlooking the best platform to generate B2B sales.


Please share and comment — I will try to interact with as many as possible!


Chris Hall

Marketing Recruitment / Group Social Media and Marketing

James Gray Associates Ltd, Marketing, Payroll, HR & Reward Specialist Recruiters

Email: Twitter: @JGA_Marketing Tel: 01727 800 377

Why not visit our website where you can access more blogswhitepapers and social content. You can also download our latest Whitepaper: A Payroll Blueprint Towards Successful Transformation with Marketing Whitepaper ‘Digital Marketing in the New Virtual Experience Economy’ and HR Whitepaper ‘Employee Engagement: A Critical HR Problem in the 21st Century’ also available


Photo by Elena Koycheva on Unsplash

Photo by Marc Schäfer on Unsplash



Llewellyn, G. (2018). The implications of Facebook’s most recent algorithm update | Smart Insights. Retrieved from

Wong, J. (2018). Twitter announces global change to algorithm in effort to tackle harassment. Retrieved from

Rynne, A. (2018). 10 Surprising Stats You Didn’t Know about Marketing on LinkedIn. Retrieved from

Elder, R., & Gallagher, K. (2018). Linkedin reaches a half billion users. Retrieved from

Sabbouh, A. (2017). Social Media Marketing: What social media is Best For B2B Marketing. Retrieved from

Ganim Barnes, Ph.D., N., & Pavao, S. (2018). The 2017 Fortune 500 Go Visual and Increase Use of Instagram, Snapchat, and YouTube. Retrieved from

Hunt, E. (2018). LinkedIn is the worst of social media. Should I delete my account?. Retrieved from

The Rise of Micro-Influencers within Marketing

Influencer marketing is without a doubt a credible component of the marketing mix. In fact, research suggests that as much as half of young people in the U.K. purchased products that were promoted by influencers in 2017.

According to a survey of 2,293 adults aged between 18 and 30, consumers in the U.K. were five times more likely to buy products that were reviewed or promoted by an influencer (than someone who wasn’t). These results can be attributed to the fact that influencers bring authenticity to sponsored posts and that adds value to marketing campaigns.

While influencer marketing campaigns originally began with celebrities and brand ambassadors, brands have started to figure out that it’s not all about celebrity endorsement.

This is because while celebrities might have hundreds of thousands or even millions of followers if they don’t have the ability to change behaviours or influence the masses with their tastes, they don’t have influence over their audience.

Who are Micro-Influencers?

Micro-influencers are individuals who have gained a considerable amount of respect within a particular niche (travel, wellness, fitness, etc.). These individuals are deeply connected to their audience, and they can change the behaviours and tastes of others.

While the number of followed required to be considered a micro-influencer is always up for debate, anywhere from 10,000 and 500,000 followers on social media channels will suffice. In the grand scheme of things, it’s not the number of followers that really matter, it’s audience engagement.

Why are Micro-Influencers Important?

Compared to celebrity social media channels, micro-influencers have far fewer followers. However, engaging them in promotional activities can be more profitable because they have built trust and have nurtured a close relationship with their audience (and this is critical when it comes to purchase decisions).

Micro-influencer marketing is important because the influencer’s opinion is trusted, their audience is brand relevant, and they have the power to turn fans into loyal brand advocates. But to get the maximum exposure for your micro-influencer campaigns, a single mention by one influencer might not be enough.

Instead, it’s better to engage multiple micro-influencers to extend your reach. However, this won’t be easy as you’ll have to find relevant candidates, engage them, evaluate their channel, and this will be time intensive.

Micro-influencers on Instagram with over a 100,000 followers can command as much as $5,000, and that doesn’t include all the free stuff (that usually goes along with an endorsement).

When micro-influencers grow their audience and become more prolific, their fees will also increase. But marketers will need to tread carefully because engagement tends to drop as the audience grows.

For example, research suggests that individuals with less than 1,000 followers generally attracted likes on their posts about 8% of the time and generated comments about 0.5% of the time. When that number rose to over 10 million followers, the likes they received fell to 1.8% and generated comments about 0.04% of the time.

So there’s a clear downward correlation that can’t be ignored. So if you’re looking to engage a micro-influencer, what should you look for?

While there isn’t a sweet spot when it comes to the number of followers a micro-influencer should have, experts believe that the 10,000 to 100,000 range offers the best combination of broad reach and engagement.

In this scenario, the likes and comments rates often exceed those accounts with a higher number of followers. As the audience is keyed into their niche, you can get a higher return on your investment at a fraction of the cost you would typically have to pay a celebrity.

Micro-Influencer Marketing Today

Today, micro-influencers are more popular than ever within marketing. In fact, it’s one of the most successful strategies employed by marketers in the digital age.

This can be attributed to the fact that enterprises can gain as much as $7.65 in earned media value for every dollar spent on influencer marketing. So it’s not surprising that 57% of marketers have dedicated budgets for micro-influencer campaigns while another 37% plan to do so shortly.

As micro-influencer marketing grows exponentially, brands have to make an effort to identify the right influencer for their product and campaigns. Often, brands will look at a variety of statistics ranging from authentically grown audiences for individual campaigns, relevance, and the growth of their own USP.

However, whenever these statistics include personal data, regulations like the General Data Protection Regulation or GDPR will come into effect. Whenever this is the case, both the brand and the micro-influencer will have to have a reasonable justification for collecting and using this information.

Going forward, it will be imperative for brands to build a long-term relationship with relevant micro-influencers to connect with their target audience. As these advocates cover a wide range of niche markets, there’s a micro-influencer for just about any type of business.

For brands and micro-influencers, it will be critical to build strong and mutually beneficial relationships to help create authenticity and credibility without breaking the bank.


Please share and comment — I will try to interact with as many as possible!



Chris Hall

Marketing Recruitment / Group Social Media and Marketing

James Gray Associates Ltd, Marketing, Payroll, HR & Reward Specialist Recruiters

Email: Twitter: @JGA_Marketing Tel: 01727 800 377

Why not visit our website where you can access more blogswhitepapers and social content. You can also download our latest Whitepaper: A Payroll Blueprint Towards Successful Transformation with Marketing Whitepaper ‘Digital Marketing in the New Virtual Experience Economy’ and HR Whitepaper ‘Employee Engagement: A Critical HR Problem in the 21st Century’ also available





Mirreh, M. (2018). Half of UK Adults Have Bought Products Promoted by Influencers. [online] PerformanceIN. Available at:

McLaren, L. (2018). What would you do if your teenager became an overnight Instagram sensation?. Retrieved from

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EUGDPR – Information Portal. (2018). Retrieved from

Photo by Verena Yunita Yapi on Unsplash

Photo by Adam Jang on Unsplash

How will blockchain affect HR Recruitment Processes? Article 3 of 10

This is article 3 of 10 forming the third part of a series of articles dedicated to my attempt at helping Payroll & HR professionals understand the potential impact that Blockchain and Cryptocurrency could have on the future of Payroll & HR.

To view the earlier article in the series – click here:

  1. Article 1: How will Blockchain, Cryptocurrency and DLT technologies affect the future of Payroll & HR
  2. Article 2: Will companies start to payroll its employees in cryptocurrency?

Also, check out the latest episode of The Payroll Podcast with Anita Lettink, SVP of Global Alliances at NGA HR which discusses Blockchain and the Future of Payroll & HR


Today, I would like to discuss how I think Blockchain may affect Human Resources in relation to recruitment-related administration and storing personal data…

Article 3: How will blockchain affect HR Recruitment Processes?

A large proportion of time in the life of an HR professional is spent repeating the same actions over and over again. This is especially true with recruitment, vetting and onboarding.

Now, if I was to say that we could automate some of these repeated actions: chasing down references, checking work histories, verifying credentials etc., etc., I am sure you would be very interested in understanding how. Not only would this save time, but it would also save money, and it would allow HR professionals to spend more time on strategy and less time on repetitive HR administrative tasks!

You will soon begin to hear many firms peddling their technological wares claiming

“Blockchain is the answer”.

You will discover how blockchain technology could speed up the hiring and recruitment process, by removing the need to contact third parties to confirm information.

Right now, there are even pilot programs automating such repetitive tasks already. For example, in this group of Greek universities [link], they are experimenting with ways to add student diplomas to a blockchain database.

However, the truth is that despite these pilot projects existing, industry-wide adoption remains a problem for blockchain-based technologies.

There are various reasons for this.

Let’s explore…


Using Blockchain in Recruitment

There are two major strands of how blockchain systems could affect recruitment. Each relates to a different kind of blockchain: the first is private and permissioned, and the second is public and permissionless. We go into more detail about this in the latest episode of The Payroll Podcast.

However, for now, let’s consider the analogy IBM use of the internet (public) vs intranet (private) to help describe the differences between these two types of blockchains.

  1. Public blockchains: publicly available, decentralised blockchains – where anyone can view the information on a blockchain without first having to ask for permission, login credentials or a password – also known as permissionless blockchains
  2. Private Blockchain: private, in-house, centralised blockchain-based databases where only a select few people can gain access – also known as permissioned blockchains

So how does this affect recruitment for Employers?

Firstly, companies who want to be seen as being ‘ahead of the curve’ and ‘technologically advanced’ they may consider employing some form of blockchain solution to help with their recruitment and HR systems.

Why? Because right now it is likely that those who do decide to implement these new types of systems will use it in their marketing in an attempt to attract forward-thinking, technologically-curious applicants to the business. It could also appeal to companies desperate to attract ‘millennials’ to their brands.

However, one of the main issues with recruiting great employees is the fact that we know the references, job successes and credentials can easily be faked or exaggerated.  CV ‘padding’ is a significant issue and candidates will often overstate levels of responsibility, inflate or even invent credentials, or use fake or inflated job titles to fill gaps on a CV.

This is a genuine problem for HR departments and recruiters alike, and it takes a lot of time (and sometimes poor hiring decisions) to establish the wheat from the chaff. Sadly, at present blockchain doesn’t really offer a solution to this problem either.

Blockchain would only really work as a solution if candidate information was all available in one place. It would be a dream if there were one place that all credentials, qualifications and career histories were stored that HR professionals could access. If this did exist then this would be the hook for blockchain-based databases. However, this reality rarely matches the dream.

One possibility for blockchain, however, can be found within educational establishments (if indeed they all decide to adopt the technology). If they started to store results on a blockchain database then these would be great, uneditable databases HR professionals could access to easily look-up a candidate’s educational qualifications to see if the results listed on a CV matched those on the block-chain database. As blockchains are uneditable, they would even exist even if the educational institution dissolved.

Interestingly, some educational institutions are already beginning to record qualifications on the blockchain. However, at present, this is far from being universally adopted. Subsequently, until this becomes the process for all educational institutions, it is hard to see how blockchain, at least in the immediate future, will improve recruitment from an HR process perspective

The reality is that vetting candidates correctly remains an extremely time-consuming task for HR professionals and recruiters and there is no “quick-fix” solution. Until an all-in-one place solution exists which keeps accurate records of all aspects of an applicant’s profile, this is unlikely to change either.

While blockchain could, in theory, allow us to check qualifications quickly and reliably, it only really works as a process if all businesses and educational establishments adopt the technology. Even if this part of the vetting process becomes a universal norm, it still won’t change the fact that HR departments and recruiters still would not have one central place to check for CV inaccuracies.

Okay, but what about blockchain databases for storing personal data on employees?

Personal Data and Blockchain

Personal data and blockchains is a tricky subject. While blockchain evangelists may see it as a natural fit, in reality, there is a rather devastating argument against their use.

Personal data on a blockchain cannot be removed. This is in the permanent nature of a blockchain and exactly how it is designed. Blockchains are uneditable.

As a result, blockchain databases containing personal data cannot comply with the UK’s Data Protection Act, nor with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (better known as GDPR). This is because the legislation explicitly states the individual’s right to require organisations – including universities and private companies – to delete the data about herself or himself unless it must be kept on record for legal reasons. This is also known as ‘Right to Erasure’ (Art. 17 of the GDPR)

Securing Personal Data

The above applies to public blockchains. Private, permissioned blockchains, however, could be used in their place.

In private blockchains, you need to depend on an individual person to manage access to the blockchain, and this person needs to be a trusted third-party who has the confidence of everyone concerned. Here, inherently lies the problem because this one person also becomes the potential point of failure.

Why would anyone want to use a blockchain-based database instead of a traditional database which already works perfectly well? It is a bit like paying your employees in bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency – why bother when we already have a perfectly useful currency (the British Pound) we can pay people with, that is both more financially stable and more universally accepted.

I love Einstein quotes (for those of you who have previously visited our website you will know this already), and here a good one comes to mind…

“We can’t solve problems using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them” – Einstein.

Also, when we talk about viewing personal data on a blockchain, we are really talking about hashes (the shortened, cryptography-secured representation of that data). To access the personal data in full – in this case, presumably, degree or course certificates, a person’s full name and attendance record, or list of publications – another application outside the blockchain are needed to decode the hashes and provide this information.

I appreciate that following this can be difficult so perhaps Bart Jacobs, Professor of Software Security at Radboud University in The Netherlands who has researched this issue can put it more directly. He writes [Dutch translation:]

“The blockchain only plays a very limited, subordinate role in [decoding personal data]. Besides, the energy consumption of blockchains borders on madness.”

Because a blockchain is an ever-growing list of all the data entered into the database – and the cryptographic proof-of-work required to verify the information on it – the energy and electricity consumption required to maintain them become impractical for most businesses.

Jacobs adds:

“The next time a blockchain guru approaches you with promises, ask ‘Where is the really sensitive data, and how is it protected? How do you regulate how parties are authenticated? And therefore, why is the blockchain really needed?’”

However secure a blockchain-based database – and there is no question that the cryptographic standards used are pretty secure – where that technology is forced to touch down and interact with the rest of the world, there are significant security compromises to be made.


Organisations looking to cut back-office costs may see blockchain-based databases as a cure-all panacea for slow and costly recruitment processes and HR verifications.

In reality, I don’t believe public blockchains are really suitable for hosting personal data. Besides, while using private blockchains may address some legislative concerns, they are redundant because of the need for a trusted third party to maintain them and regulate access.

In this way, they overlap with existing, non-experimental database technologies.

Subsequently, while it is inevitable that we will see blockchain technology begin to infiltrate many business processes, I personally think that when it comes to HR and Payroll, companies should take time to understand if and how products that promise blockchain as a solution really work before jumping in to implement it.

What do you think?

Please share and comment – I will try to interact with as many as possible!

Future articles in the series will include:

  • What is a smart contracts and how will they affect payroll and HR?
  • What benefits could blockchain bring to the payroll industry?
  • Blockchain payroll companies
  • How to build a blockchain-based payroll system
  • When should businesses start planning for blockchain?
  • Risks and costs
  • Conclusion – is blockchain and crypto the future?

Look out for article 4 in the series: What is a smart contracts and how will they affect payroll and HR?

Thanks 🙂

As always, whether you love payroll or love HR, love what you do, work smart and work hard – just be careful not to overdo it. 

Visit our website to access more blogswhitepapersThe Payroll Podcast and social content about all things “Payroll and HR”.

If you are looking for expert talent in the fields of Payroll, HR or Reward, then please call me or email me and I would be delighted to discuss how we can help.

Nick Day | Managing Director

JGA Recruitment | JGA Payroll & HR Recruitment

Email: | Tel: 01727 800 377

Consumers Guide to Recruitment

Consumers Guide to Recruitment

Consumers Guide to Recruitment

Your recruitment campaign should be a comprehensive plan detailing everything from who you are looking to recruit, when, where and how. As Richard Branson says ‘The most important part of any organisation are the employees’, and finding employees that are qualified, motivated and skilled can be a challenge if you don’t have a recruitment campaign in place. This guide is intended to help you and your business develop an effective recruitment campaign to maximise time and efficiency and to ultimately find the best possible candidates for the job.


Why not visit our website where you can access more blogsFREE whitepapers and social content about all things “Payroll and HR”.

If you are looking for expert talent in the fields of Payroll, HR or Reward, then please call me or email me and I would be delighted to discuss how we can help.

Nick Day | Managing Director

JGA Recruitment | JGA Payroll & HR Recruitment

Email: | Tel: 01727 800 377


Essential skills to be a first-class copywriter

Copywriting offers individuals an excellent opportunity to work either for themselves or in organisations. People can copywrite from any place in the world, provided they have a good internet connection through which they can find work, research content and deliver their written work. It can also provide opportunities for flexible working, as writing can be done at any time of the day or night, allowing people to boost their income through taking on additional copywriting jobs. This makes it a highly attractive career option for many. Yet becoming a first-class copywriter can be challenging without certain essential skills. Here are the ten most important.

Skill 1: Entrepreneurial — great copywriters that strike out on their own are effectively running their own business, and need to take an entrepreneurial approach to this activity so they can find work. This means getting out there and selling services offered. One great place for the entrepreneurial copywriter to start is Upwork, which offers hundreds of copywriting jobs for clients all over the world each week.

Skill 2: Find a Niche and Becoming an Expert — while copywriters can write across a range of subjects, many of the best find it most effective to identify a niche and become known for expertise in that particular area. Copywriters can specialise in a wide range of areas, and each of these may require honing slightly different skills, or developing different types of knowledge. For example, a legal copywriter will need different knowledge and competencies than one writing advertisements for the television or radio.

Skill 3: Research — good copywriters are, by their very nature, good researchers. Even when a copywriter has a niche, it will often be necessary to research to find up-to-date statistics and supporting evidence to write compelling copy. First class copywriters have fine-tuned these skills and can quickly and efficiently gain access to the information they need, either online or through the use of their personal network.

Skill 4: Know the Audience — expert copywriters understand that they need to know the audience to engage them in the message they are conveying with their writing. Depending on the audience, the tone of the article will need to differ, as will the language used, and the simplicity or otherwise of the content. Copywriters that know their audience are aware of factors such as demographics targeted and can use this to tailor the key messages accordingly.

Skill 5: Basic Psychology — as well as knowing the audience, first class copywriters understand the psychology behind what motivates a person to take action. A lot of copywriting is focused on making sales, as an ultimate goal. This means that writing a powerful call to action is essential, so that the text delivers what it is required to. Understanding how people think and what will prompt them to take action, and writing according to that is a critical skill.

Skill 6: Spinning a Yarn — the best copywriters know that writing copy is all about being able to tell a great story. In many cases this story will revolve around why the reader should buy the product; and the story. The story told should have a factual basis, but ultimately the most captivating copy written work is comprised of a convincing story that encourages the reader to do what the writer wants.

Skill 7: Can take Criticism — copywriters get a lot of criticism. Sometimes this will be constructive and sometimes not. This is just part of the package of being a copywriter. The best copywriters see this criticism as an opportunity to learn — even if the learning is not to work with a particular client again!

Skill 8: Keep it Clear of Clutter — great copywriters do not bulk out their work with excess words. In good copywriting every word has a role to play, and there is no waffle. Knowing how to edit your work is an essential component in becoming a first-class copywriter so that every sentence offers value to the overall message.

Skill 9: Time Management — first class copywriters are usually in great demand. This means they will be working on various copywriting projects at the same time. Being a first-class copywriter therefore requires good planning and organising of tasks through effective time management. Meeting copywriting deadlines is critical. Failing to deliver on time can lead to loss of good reputation and difficulty in securing repeat work which every good copywriter knows is disastrous for business.

Skill 10: Spelling and Grammar — first class copywriters know that spelling and grammar are of paramount importance in great copywritten work. Poor spelling and grammar are extremely off-putting to the reader (who may be the client!) and unprofessional. Microsoft Word offers a very good spell and grammar check, but even this cannot be completely relied on. Nothing beats a proper read through and, for the best chances of spotting mistakes, reading your work through aloud.


· Have you seen improvements to your ability since you’ve adopted new skills and/or disciplines recently?

· What challenges did you face when starting your career in copywriting?

· What advice would you give to someone looking to improve their copywriting skills?


Please share and comment — I will try to interact with as many as possible!

Chris Hall, Marketing Recruitment / Group Social Media and Marketing

James Gray Associates Ltd, Marketing, Payroll, HR & Reward Specialist Recruiters

Email: Twitter: @JGA_Marketing Tel: 01727 800 377

Why not visit our website where you can access more blogswhitepapers and social content. You can also download our latest Whitepaper: A Payroll Blueprint Towards Successful Transformation with Marketing Whitepaper ‘Digital Marketing in the New Virtual Experience Economy’ and HR Whitepaper ‘Employee Engagement: A Critical HR Problem in the 21st Century’ also available


Is digital transformation actually business transformation?

Digital transformation continues apace around us. There is hardly a day that goes by when you do not hear of a company undertaking a digital transformation of some sort. Companies are investing in new technology, setting up innovative campaigns and finding more efficient ways of doing things.

There is no doubt that digital transformation is important for all businesses in this day and age. Companies need to keep up with their competitors and are faced with an ever-increasing rate of disruptive technological change.

Yet there is also a need to proceed with caution. After all, effectively, digital transformation is just business transformation with a shiny new name. In the end, transformation is transformation, and the “digital” part is arguably just the cause — after all, a business could equally undergo economic transformation, social transformation or environmental transformation, among many others. But what does this mean for businesses that are rapidly undertaking digital transformation programmes?

Well, like any other kind of transformation, digital transformation needs careful planning and consideration. Yes, there is a need to move quickly to keep up with the pace of change. But putting some forethought into digital transformation activities is essential to avoid jumping on a bandwagon that will not take your business in the direction it needs to go. There are so many possibilities for digital transformation across organisations, but not all of them are right for every single company. Companies come in many different shapes and sizes and undertake vastly different business activities, serving an equally wide range of different types of customers across varied market segments. Therefore, assuming that you must do big data or social media, or whatever it is just because someone you know somewhere else is doing it, is poor business decision making. The problem with this is that ill-thought out decisions in the digital space have the potential to lead to massive expenditure on systems, tools, processes and infrastructure that your business might not even need. If you do not think about what you are doing and why, the return on investment could be minimal or nothing, at best. This means that coming up with a digital strategy for business transformation is critical.

In particular, one key area for consideration is what is the benefit of a digital transformation for your customers? Will it help you to retain customers more efficiently? Will it allow you to bring on new customers at a lower cost? Will it improve the customer experience? Will it mean that you stop shedding customers? (If it is the latter, this is likely to make a fairly strong business case). Will it allow you to reach more customers with marketing promotions? If the digital transformation that you are planning to do will allow you to build and retain your customer base with greater ease, it is probably worthy of significant exploration to see how it could be done.

However, while all of these customer areas are important and may need addressing, it is critical to also understand the other side of the equation, namely: What will it cost? And, will it be worth it? Performing a cost-benefit analysis is extremely important in understanding the business case for transforming the business using digital technologies. As mentioned, it is essential to examine the possible return on investment that can be gained from undertaking the transformation. For example, out of home advertising has been undergoing digital transformation, but analysts have found that digital out of home advertising is only worth it to a point, up to a certain percentage of the total out of home advertising, due to the significant costs of investing in digital out of home advertising. Thus, if you have a sports-related business it makes sense to advertise out of doors, since that is where a lot of sports is done, but transforming your out of home advertising all the way so that it is 100% digital, is likely to be a poor decision in terms of cost-benefit and return on investment achieved from the advertising.

Ultimately, the message is that digital transformation is business transformation under a different guise, and just like any other transformation it needs to be undertaken with care. Yes, it needs to be done quickly, but when you consider that Maven Wave reported that only 41% of CIO-led digital transformation activities lead to double digit growth, those technologies and activities invested in need to be selected with great care. There needs to be consideration made to cost, and to what is going to be needed to compete in the future, and generally, digital transformation activities need to be as future proofed as possible. Don’t get pulled along on a wave of digital transformation for digital transformation’s sake. It may turn out to be a very expensive mistake.

  • Have you seen benefits to your processes and strategies since you’ve adopted new technologies ?
  • What problems did you face when undergoing a digital transformation?
  • What advice would you give to someone looking to digitalise their business?

Please share and comment — I will try to interact with as many as possible!


5 Strategies to build a successful digital marketing strategy

Most businesses now realise that a digital marketing strategy is at least of some use in helping attract customers and increase sales.

Digital marketing strategies are those that encompass any type of marketing via digital means. This may include online, social media, mobile and search engine optimisation, among others. A good digital marketing strategy will consider where the business is now with digital marketing, where it wants to be, how it will get there, and how it will know when it has arrived. Here are five ideas of strategies that need to be employed to build a successful digital marketing strategy:

Define your goals — without being clear on what it is you want to achieve; your chances of success are limited. As with any other type of marketing strategy you should decide on a clear end goal. This should fit into the overall marketing goal, which in turn should cascade down from the overall business goals. It is not helpful to define goals without considering how you will measure them, so do make sure your goals can be measured, as this is the information you will need to define success. You might consider using the SMART acronym (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and with a time frame) for the goal setting process. The goal setting process should be no different from setting goals for any other type of marketing strategy. You will need to consider what is happening in the business environment (external and internal) that is impacting on your business, and how you will segment, target and position the market. In building up this overall picture you can set solid strategic digital marketing goals.

Create personas — in digital marketing (as in any other kind of marketing) it is essential to know who it is you are targeting. You need to understand demographic information about them, such as their likely age, education level, income, race, gender and more. This helps you devise marketing messages to appeal to them. Knowing their location is also critical so you can target your digital campaign effectively. You also need to gather psychographic information about those you are targeting, such as what they like doing in their free time and the challenges they face which might lead them to consider your product. This will help you build up a picture of who you are targeting to allow you to devise digital messages and strategies that will appeal to them.

Choose the right digital platforms for your marketing — this strategy is closely linked to the return on investment of different tactics (below). If you choose the wrong digital channels you will not meet your digital marketing goals that you set at the outset. This is also closely tied to who you are targeting. Do some research into the types of platforms that your target markets use frequently and focus most of your efforts on those. Different digital marketing channels will be more suited to different types of businesses. For example, businesses that want to attract consumers are more likely to see ROI on their campaigns than those that operate in the B2B field. Alternative, mobile campaigns may be more likely to be more effective with younger target markets, such as the so-called “digital native” millennials.

Always use a call to action — a call to action drives a person do take the steps you want them to take after seeing your marketing. For example, “buy it now here” (with a link) might be an example of a call to action. If you do not include a call to action, your customer might do what you hope them to anyway, but the chances are they will not. The psychology behind the call to action is powerful and the call to action helps conclude the story that you are telling through your digital marketing campaign through helping it to feel resolved for the customer. Utilising the psychology behind the call to action can help you succeed.

Consider return on investment (ROI) of different tactics — a critical strategy in making sure that your digital marketing strategy will be a success is considering the return on investment that you will attain by utilising different digital channels. The bottom line is that if you do not measure your investment you could easily end up spending money on channels that do not work well for your particular market, so this measurement is essential in driving success. MarketingMo provides some helpful guidance on how to calculate marketing campaign ROI. However, do also consider returns that are not necessarily easy to quantify financially but that could also be making a significant difference. For example, you might not necessarily get new sales online by having a website (though you probably would) but online media can also drive a person to visit the store and make a purchase. This is harder to quantify but important to understand in the overall picture of which strategies are worthwhile.

You might not get your digital marketing strategy right first time, but analysing it and adjusting it accordingly will allow you to refine it. Being smart about your digital marketing strategy will ensure you spend marketing budget efficiently in areas that will drive the results you desire.

· Where there other considerations when building your strategy?

· What problems did you face when designing your digital strategy?

· What advice would you give to someone looking to build their digital marketing strategy?

Please share and comment — I will try to interact with as many as possible!

Morning blog

All Before 9:00am: Your Morning Routine Dictates Your Day

There are few periods in the day that are more “yours” than the hours between 0600 and 0800. You get to work after your commute and are thrust into the maelstrom of noise, pulling you this way and that, inevitably ruining any best-laid plans.

Or maybe you are like me, in that you can never just “go home”; instead, you find yourself tending to the needs of your children or are ferrying them to activities! Perhaps, you have busy social calendar? Whatever your circumstances, if you are like me, you will find that very few evenings finish without some sort of family or social related drama or activity.

But in the mornings, when everyone is (relatively) quietly going about their own business, that is the time when you can truly shape your life in your own design. Therefore, for the most part, there is every chance that your morning routine should remain relatively uninterrupted.

I often wonder why we don’t put more thought into this period of our lives? I call this “All before 09:00 time”!

Far too many of us see our mornings as a frantic sprint to get “ready” for the day in the least time possible. Brushing your teeth in the shower? Easy. Ironing a shirt while eating a piece of toast? Down to a fine art. Slurping a coffee while speed walking on the way to the station. Don’t we all do that?

It is easy to feel like a high-flying go-getter if we can go from mild slumber to a caffeine-fuelled world-beater in 30 minutes. What role could an early morning possibly have, other than a prelude to the real events of the day?

Well, if your morning is organized it can not only saves you vital energy for the first crucial events of the day; but it can also stimulate you into getting a head start on everyone else. Knowing how the first 60-90 minutes of your day is going to be structured lets you feel in control, and allows you to save your energy for the important decisions to come when the “day proper” starts. Ever wonder why Mark Zuckerberg wears those boring hoodies? Well, it is one less decision to make in the morning. Let’s face it, the guy has enough on his plate. But why should we be any different?

I don’t want to tell you all what the perfect routine involves, as we are all different. But I can say for certain that it starts with waking up at the “right” time. If you wake when you are in a period of “light” sleep, you feel refreshed and energised and alert. There are apps available, which measure your activity, and even waking 30 minutes earlier than usual can make all the difference. Yes, you can wake up at 06:00 and feel more refreshed than if you woke up at 06:30! Play with your own alarm, alter it in 10 minute increments until you find the “perfect wake up time” for you. It really does work!

For many people, a great morning routine involves some exercise and some creativity. Rather than a sluggish and meandering first few hours of the day, why not get the blood pumping and the brain cells ticking over? If a rapid 30 minutes on the exercise bike and 15 minutes of stimulating reading (or even creative writing) don’t do it for you, I don’t know what will.

Many of us have ambitions to read more, write more, exercise more or maybe we just want to spend a little more quality time with our children (who always seem to be up at the crack of dawn). The hours before 09:00 make all of these personal ambitious possible. Personally, I like to run. Every Tuesday, my alarm goes of at 05:30. My trainers and running gear is already laid out ready for me to to wake up to. No excuses now. This is my “half-marathon” morning. This is a weekly ritual and watching the sun rise has become a morning picture I cherish. 21km and 90 minutes later I am ready for breakfast and keen to take on the day and it is still only 07:30.

A morning routine is like signing a contract with yourself. If you commit to it, and try not to let anything disturb it, your life can be transformed. If you know that you are going to start every day on the “right” foot, your chances of having a successful day are going to be that little bit higher.