Categories
Brands Content Marketing talk

God Save the Brands 👑

I was in a Zoom meeting at home when the news about the Queen broke.

“The Queen has just died”, my colleague posted in the chat. 

Nobody said anything, and the meeting continued, business as usual until the chair eventually spoke up: “Did someone say the Queen has died? It’s a pity the last face she saw was Liz Truss.” 

I kept re-reading his words, and for the rest of the meeting lost focus.

Maybe it was shock, the Keep Calm and Carry On British thing. I wasn’t expecting a two-minute silence but making a joke of it felt hugely disrespectful. 

I had one thought running through my mind.

I don’t want to work with people who don’t respect the Queen. A wife, a mother, a woman, and a fantastic role model who served her country for 70 years – the Queen who almost wasn’t… 

Just two days earlier, she was on her feet welcoming Liz Truss as our new PM – her last official duty before she died. That must have had a huge impact on Liz Truss.

Maybe she feels a sense of honour and obligation to carry that legacy. I felt that in the speeches she gave this week. 

Flashbulb memories. We remember where we were when big things happened.

When Diana died in 1997, I was in my tiny room in Maidstone, glued to my portable TV. I’d just started my first job in telly at the Maidstone Studios, and my landlady was a huge fan of the Royal Family – she had mugs and memorabilia all over the house. She came home from work, and we sat staring at the screen, drinking endless cups of tea.

After the Zoom call, I lit a candle and went to the shop to buy a chocolate cake, ate two pieces for dinner, had a bit of a cry, and watched the news.

The following day, I had a text from a client asking if I could do a social about the Queen. Why the rush? Your audience isn’t going anywhere. LinkedIn was a ghost town – official news aside – until the brand tributes started rolling in.

Do you post or not when a big thing happens?

It’s hard for brands to get it right. Post nothing; you may be seen as uncaring and out of touch. Post too much or inappropriately, and God forbid – carry on selling your products & services, and you risk a backlash. Being seen as insensitive and opportunistic. 

See here the best and worst brand tweets about the Queen’s death [via Matt Navarra]. Some people were even telling him to give it a rest.

Bizarre content. Black boxes with white script. Changing company logos to black – er, no, Domino’s. Playmobil!! The entire McDonald’s system? I’m not sure what Thomas Cook was thinking…

I saw a charity shop in Battle with black outfits in the window. I get it, but it feels off-brand.

Queen Elizabeth had a strong brand image – close your eyes and picture her. What do you see? I see bright blocks of colour – fun outfits and her trademark loafers – that canary yellow jacket was my favourite. A cheeky smile and a twinkle in her eye.

Always a sharp dresser. Why not have a window display with neon colours as a tribute? That would be more fitting. 

Paddington Bear got it right. Short and sweet. Love that she was up for that. Always keep a marmalade sandwich in your handbag for emergencies…

In the end, I put this out for the client. 

What a weird week it’s been. Storms, flash floods, rainbows, record-breaking heatwaves, huge moons. Back to school. A new PM. The Queen died. A new King.

Lots of emotional speeches and storytelling bring people together. 

Liz’s speech was good but sombre. A nice touch of humour from Boris and Theresa May – I love the cheese story. I imagine the Queen putting her foot down, driving around Balmoral, and stopping to chat with the stag. 

I thought Charles’ tribute to his ‘darling mama’ was lovely – especially the last line about flights of angels. 

And the 96-year-old woman who summed it up eloquently on Channel 4 News. She’s had a good life. That’s the way to go – no hospital, working till the end. Welcoming the new PM two days before she died.

I bought myself a vintage Pringle cardigan and a silk skirt – work event in London this week and will go pay my respects (more agonising about whether to cancel such things as we’re in a period of mourning, but it’s not the state funeral and I think the Queen would want business as usual).

The Queen has received a piece of Pringle knitwear every year since 1947 and wrote a thank you letter back each time.

Sure it will be a beautiful funeral 💜


First published on The Shift, September 11 2022.

Get in touch if you have a project to share, a link suggestion, or just want to say hi 👋

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Categories
Freelancing future of work Open Talent

Work Without Limits 2022 🚀

Hey, a quick reminder about the Work Without Limits Executive Summit next week.

It’s a hybrid event bringing C-suite executives together to explore business growth strategies, challenges, and societal changes leading to the breakdown of old ways of working.

Join online on Tuesday 16 August (starts at 4 pm GMT) for insights and actionable advice from executives, thought leaders, and industry experts.

I’ll be on a train to Devon – workation in an eco-lodge next week with six teenagers – bit of an experiment, wish me luck! Will tune in to listen to Scott Galloway on The New Abnormal – our post-pandemic economy and the implications for public companies, startups, and individuals. 

Looking forward to hearing his thoughts on remote work, the attention economy, loneliness, community, and the importance of making the most out of each moment.

Also, Tim Sanders (Upwork VP of Client Strategy) on how leading companies are redesigning how teams are constructed, how they collaborate, and how work gets done.

Should spark a few ideas for collaboration.

For a full debrief, tune in to How The Future Works with Barry and Eleanor Matthews at Open Assembly. My favourite podcast!🍷The format works brilliantly – a mix of news, talk show, and insightful interviews on open talent. Barry will be at the summit, so it will be interesting to get his take on it.

Have you used Upwork to find clients? I’m not drawn to platforms like this as they tend to favour the client over the freelancer. Being graded, reviewed and competing with other freelancers isn’t my thing, but I know some people have made good money there.

If you’ve used it to find clients, let me know your thoughts.

RSVP for the free virtual event

Get in touch if you have a project to share, a link suggestion, or just want to say hi 👋

Buy me a coffee

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Categories
productivity Solopreneurs Systems Thinking

Systems can set you free 🤓

I’m struggling to get my tax return done. It’s been in the diary for ages, but I’ve let (more interesting) things take priority this week.

I want it done so I can take a break in August. I’m normally on it as soon as the new tax year starts — like to do it early, so I know how much I have to pay.

I realise I need to do it before school’s out on July 21st. I’m not as focused with a teenager in the house. The energy is different, and my attention is split between work and domestics.

Also, the heat is making me restless. I want to be outside. Long walks. Runs. Hanging out. Living in Hastings is like being on permanent holiday 🤩 🌊

Time to revisit my systems and processes. Look at what I do every day — personally and professionally, and work out how I can maximise my output with minimal effort.

I want to work on my business and myself in August — reading, travelling, studying, and the bigger picture. Set some goals for September — the new year.

Designing better systems will give me more headspace and freedom to be present in the moment — whether I’m writing an email, talking to a friend or shopping with Julieta. It will also help me see what I can outsource.

It’s a mix of digital and physical:

• Notebook and pen (handwriting activates the brain and boosts creativity)

• Trello boards (to plan, move things around, inspirational backgrounds — a visual reminder of where I want to go next)

• Templates for newsletters, emails, and reports I do regularly

• Calendly — set times for calls with an automated Zoom link

• Batching tasks, e.g., Marketing Monday, Fridays for creative writing and personal projects, checking emails at set times

• Hootsuite for social media scheduling (5 x daily posts on the free version)

Groove app for 50-minute focus sprints — just 4 of us; I love how intimate this feels. One task at a time. Writing an email, making dinner, sorting the garage — it’s all work

• GrowthDay — the first all-in-one personal development app. Underpins it all. Brendon’s energy is infectious! ( here’s my link)

Here’s Mark McGuinness | Creative Coach on how to create systems that serve you.

Listen to an audio version of the article on this episode of The 21st Century Creative podcast, starting at 7’’18.

Learn to Thrive as a Creative Proget the FREE 26-week course. It will help you look at your creative career’s bigger picture. Do something new every week to develop your skills.

Happy holidays! See you in September 😎

As always, get in touch if you have something to share, a link suggestion, or just want to say hi 👋

Originally published at https://nikatalbot.substack.com on July 31, 2022.

Categories
Freelancers future of work Open Talent

Insights from future of work discussions 🌍

Help transform work for 1 billion people by 2025

Welcome to Issue #90!

An update on the world of work from the President of the World Employment Confederation, Bettina Schaller.

A bit on Bettina’s backstory and the big topics at the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos [via CTW].

1/ Finding work for Ukrainians – how can Ukrainians who have fled or are still there work and pay their bills? Platform innovation.

2/ The world is in crisis – health, food, climate, energy, a talent shortage, inflation, geopolitics – an opportunity for labour markets?

3/ The metaverse – bringing the future to the present

I walked away from Davos thinking that’s it, that’s it – it’s gonna come. It’s gonna be here.

Bettina Schaller

The voice of the worker 

Everyone has their own agenda at these big meetings. How can independents and startups in the digital platform space have a seat at the table and get their voices heard differently?

The classic answer is joining a union – collective bargaining. 

Through finding the right allies and working through those channels. Joining expert roundtables and trade organisations like the Center for the Transformation of Work.

CTW’s mission is to transform work for 1 billion people by 2025.

They are building a community of experts and like-minded practitioners – and are keen to have more independents join their calls.

An opportunity to contribute to the discussion and help redesign work.
https://transformationofwork.org/manifesto

Shaping a shared future – making the metaverse 

On the evolution of the internet: “the part where it gets less flat”. Scaling services, crossing borders, sharing virtual spaces, and new ways of expressing ourselves…

Exciting to hear that spatial audio in 3D meetings adds empathy, which isn’t possible with 2D audio. 

A fascinating discussion – much food for thought! Watch here.

Oculus Quest 2 (much improved) or shall I wait for 3…? 

– Nika


Truss v Sunak – can’t stand it. Get the businesspeople and entrepreneurs on the job!