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Monthly Archive: November 2023

Change Maker: Nicola Goldie, Aldermore Bank

Change Maker: Nicola Goldie, Aldermore Bank

As part of the Change Makers initiative, Mortgage Solutions spoke to Aldermore’s head of strategic partnerships and growth Nicola Goldie (pictured) about her work on diversity, exclusivity and equity and how she feels to have been nominated as a Change Maker.

Goldie is head of strategic partnerships and growth at Aldermore Bank, a position she took up in June this year. Prior to that, she was with Virgin Money for seven years, rising to the rank of head of national accounts. She has also held senior management position at both Lloyds Banking Group and HBoS.

She has worked tirelessly to improve diversity and equality in the mortgage industry as well as being vocal in her support of greater female representation in the sector, leading to her nomination as a Mortgage Solutions Change Maker.



What initiative or project saw you nominated as a Change Maker?

I was nominated for my work with the AMI Viewpoint D&I report and worked on the initial report into the mortgage industry to create a benchmark from which to start to create positive changes. Since then, I have been part of the AMI steering group and the taskforce activity that was a result of the findings alongside leading the IMLA I&D Group.

Why did this project mean so much to you?

I believe that everyone should be able to bring their whole selves to work and that everyone should be given fair opportunities to shine and develop in their roles and careers. This industry has so many great things about it but in terms of true diversity, equity and inclusion, there is still a long way to go to really reflect the communities and customers we serve.

I am passionate about moving our industry to be one where people can look

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Food and Farm Exploration Center launches new website

By Patrick Lynn

Plover’s Food and Farm Exploration Center has announced the launch of its new website, explorefoodandfarm.org.

The new website is the culmination of several months of work by the staff and the website developer Detonator. Previously, the organization was operating two separate websites; fftf.us which was the Farming for the Future Foundation website, focused on the capital fundraising campaign initiatives, the second website, foodandfarm.us, focused on the Food + Farm Exploration Center, featuring the educational and programming initiatives.

All aspects of the Foundation and the Center are under one new responsive website that is easily navigable on all devices and built to showcase all that the Food + Farm Exploration Center has to offer.

The Center is also home to the world’s largest potato masher — a 39-foot-tall, three-ton feature intended as a “selfie spot” that will draw attention from young people.

Visit explorefoodandfarm.org to learn about the immersive exhibits, educational offerings, and meeting space rental opportunities.

The 24-acre site will be operated by the Farming for the Future Foundation, a nonprofit organization founded by the Pavelski family and incorporated in 2018. The family has operated a multi-generational farm in central Wisconsin since 1873.

The state-of-the-art facility has interactive classrooms and is geared for accessibility, including modified indoor tractors to simulate operating in a field, and four one-acre fields for planting onsite. A large kitchen and other working space is intended to teach all ages from planting to cooking and food preservation. The space is also available for event rental.

The Exploration Center is projected to open in late fall of 2023.

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Introducing Agent Lunar: The All-in-One Marketing Solution for the Underserved Small Business Community

Founders of Agent Lunar

Launching today, Agent Lunar is an AI-powered all-in-one marketing solution for SMBs. Designed to take on the role of virtual Chief Marketing Officer, the platform provides tailored marketing insights, tools, and services to the UK’s underserved small business community, empowering them to access their widest market and reach their full potential.

The lack of tailored SMB tech solutions costs the UK economy £232 billion annually and it’s closing businesses down because they haven’t the tools necessary to respond to the changing economic climate or the evolving needs of the contemporary customer. There were 1.2 million UK business closures in the three years from 2020, and while there were extenuating factors – most notably the pandemic – many SMBs could have survived had they access to the tech solutions that carried many of their larger counterparts through.

Delivering laser-focused support to the SMB segment, including mentorship, tailored education, and free licences to integral marketing software, Agent Lunar will not only help businesses bridge the gap between retail and etail, but equip SMBs for tomorrow’s “PhyGital” buyer. Every interaction becomes a growth opportunity, levelling the playing field between SMBs and larger businesses.

In the current marketing landscape, the existing tools are designed for large enterprises. They fall short when addressing the unique needs of SMBs, who may lack the manpower, the dedicated technical expertise, the time, or the funds necessary to take advantage of what is available. Recognising this gap, Agent Lunar seeks to democratise digital marketing by offering AI-enhanced software as a service. From crafting personalised marketing strategies for each business, to automated marketing campaigns, Agent Lunar manages it all, ensuring that even SMBs can harness powerful, data-driven insights.

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Dominique Harrison-Bentzen, Co-founder and Co-CEO, at Agent Lunar, comments: ‘Our goal is to make digital marketing simpler

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Guinness maker blames alcohol tax for rise in weaker beers

Guinness

Guinness

The drinks giant behind Guinness has blamed Jeremy Hunt for the growing trend among brewers to reduce the alcohol content in their beer in order to pay less tax.

Nuno Teles, managing director at Diageo GB, which also owns Smirnoff Vodka and Johnnie Walker whisky, said “disproportionate” taxation enforced by the Treasury was encouraging the “wrong behaviours” among drinks companies.

He said: “Changing the alcohol content in beers because of a reaction to the tax, I don’t think it’s the right approach. I put myself on the side of the consumer – why should the consumer be now confronted with [this] because of taxation?

“I think it’s very sad to see the Government taking advantage of duty the way they are. I don’t think by increasing the taxation, you’re going to boost the economy.”

Nuno Teles

Nuno Teles says it is ‘very sad to see the Government taking advantage of duty the way they are’ – Rachel Adam

Alcohol duty is calculated based on the percentage of alcohol in the final product. This means cutting the alcohol by volume (abv) is an easy way to make savings at a time when the cost of brewing and distilling has soared.

The rate of alcohol duty went up by 10.1pc in August.

Brands including Carlsberg, Old Speckled Hen, and Leffe Blonde have cut the alcohol content in their beers in the last year. A Leffe spokesman said it made the change to “better suit the consumer palate”.

The practice of making drinks weaker has been dubbed “drinkflation” because it is similar to the so-called shrinkflation seen on supermarket shelves, where products get smaller but prices rise or remain the same.

Alcohol manufacturers are now calling on the Chancellor not to raise alcohol taxes again in the Autumn Statement.

The Wine & Spirit

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New Skillnet website launched to support workforce development

Chambers Ireland has launched a new website for its Skillnet Network which will provide information for businesses across specific regions about how to provide upskilling to their workforce.

As of Tuesday, the 15th of August, membership of the network is open to Chambers members and private enterprises based in Cork, Clare, Dublin, Limerick, Louth, Waterford, Wexford, Sligo, and Tipperary.

Each Chamber Skillnet is an enterprise-led training network for companies wanting to work collaboratively and respond locally to talent development needs within their business.

In partnership with Skilnet Ireland, Chambers Skillnet Networks aims to support regional development by helping local businesses to arrive at shared local solutions that are more accessible, affordable and effective at meeting their needs.

Each Network addresses both technical and non-technical skills needs across multiple sectors and supports member companies to develop and grow through the provision of relevant and flexible programmes for their talent.

“The interactive online map, developed by Chambers Skillnet Networks, does a fantastic job of showing those involved in making business decisions for their teams how they can avail of the supports accessible through their local Chambers Skillnet,” said Mark Jordan, Chief Strategy Officer at Skillnet Ireland.

“Our aim at Skillnet Ireland is to meet the needs of modern businesses that are facing challenges in digitalisation, climate, and innovation, and this focus on the regional development of these key factors, to businesses of all sizes, is a vital part of the work being done by the Chambers Skillnet Networks. 

“We look forward to continuing this strong partnership, focused on the talent within companies, that are at the heart of business communities across Ireland.”

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Ziken Labs: Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Digital Marketing

Ziken Labs, an innovative digital marketing agency established in Italy in 2023, is already obtaining significant success and provides a compelling case study that sheds light on how companies strategically incorporate artificial intelligence (AI) and optimization tools. This exploration investigates how digital enterprises utilize tools such as Chat GPT, Bard, and Midjourney for tasks ranging from SEO copywriting and growth strategies to graphic design, social media management, website audits, and project management. Additionally, we’ll delve into the integration of external programs like Semrush and Hootsuite, exploring their roles in reshaping and optimizing processes within diverse tasks.

Ziken Labs: Embracing Innovation and Efficiency

From the early days of basic automation to the present era of sophisticated AI-driven solutions, businesses have witnessed a profound transformation in their approach to tasks and strategies. At the heart of digital evolution lies the pursuit of efficiency. Our case study, Ziken Labs, automating processes streamlines operations, reduces manual efforts, and allows businesses to reallocate resources strategically. Optimizing processes is a pursuit of efficiency and a gateway to innovation. 

Tools like Chat GPT, Bard, and Midjourney, once considered revolutionary, are now integral to contemporary business operations. Their evolution mirrors the escalating demands of the digital age, where efficiency, speed, and adaptability are paramount. The significance of these tools extends beyond mere automation; they serve as catalysts for innovation. We will witness how these digital companions have become indispensable assets through the lens of copywriting, growth strategies, graphic design, social media management, SEO and website audits, and project management.

Transforming Graphic Design with Midjourney

In digital artistry, Midjourney emerges as a groundbreaking AI text-to-image algorithm, a brainchild of David Holz in 2022. This self-funded project from San Francisco seeks to revolutionize art and its

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Local film-makers invited to apply for animated projects

Film-makers in Namibia interested in participating in animated project development during the 15th annual Durban FilmMart Institute (DFMI) Pitch and Finance Forum are encouraged to apply to do so.

The deadline for applicatins is 1 December.

The project is set to take place in Durban, South Africa, in July next year.

The DFMI last week annonced it would select eight official animation projects in development to present to a panel of international decision-makers, consisting of potential co-producers, broadcasters, funders and distributors at Africa’s premier film finance and co-production market.

Animators with projects in development in Namibia and across the African continent are invited to apply.

According to the organisers, the forum is open to both series and feature-length projects, and to at least one of the three key creatives (producers, writers, and directors) from Africa or in the African diaspora.

Successful project participants will be invited to participate in a comprehensive mentorship programme to prepare them for live pitches and meetings at the DFMI in 2024.

The online mentorship programme will include a series of masterclasses with leading global industry experts over two months in January and February to present their projects at the 15th DFMI.

One representative of each project will be sponsored to attend the live pitch and finance forum in July.

Magdalene Reddy, the director of the Durban FilmMart Institute, says over the past few years, the institute has seen exponential growth in the animation sector.

“We are pleased that the inclusion of animation in the annual market has strengthened the ecosystem by providing much-needed visibility for creative talent, facilitating key connections to local and international decision-makers, and enhancing the development that is assisting animators to compete in a global market,” she says.

Reddy says the institute believes working with local and continental partners offers a holistic

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WebWave’s AI Website Builder Triumphs on Product Hunt: A New Paradigm in Web Design

An innovative blend of AI and intuitive design has been named Product of the Day on Product Hunt, marking a significant leap in web design. This tool empowers users to effortlessly create comprehensive, customizable websites, showcasing a unique combination of AI-generated layouts and a flexible drag-and-drop editor, embodying the synergy of AI and human creativity in digital design.

WebWave, a pioneering force in web design technology, is proud to announce its latest achievement: WebWave AI, the company’s groundbreaking AI website builder, has been recognized as the Product of the Day on Product Hunt. This accolade is a testament to WebWave’s commitment to redefining the web design landscape through innovative AI solutions.

Since its inception in 2012 by Maciej Czajkowski, a former web developer, WebWave has consistently pushed the boundaries of web design, empowering graphic designers and marketers to create bespoke websites effortlessly. The company’s unique approach, combining an intuitive drag-and-drop interface with sophisticated AI technology, offers unparalleled flexibility and control in web design.

“We thought about how to create AI that would be helpful for users and what our strengths are. First, our AI creates a multipage with subpages, not just one page. Second, WebWave superpower is a true drag-and-drop feature; you’ve got the freedom and flexibility to position, resize, and style elements however you want. You can change everything once the AI site is generated,” Maciej Czajkowski, WebWave’s founder and CEO.

On October 4, 2023, WebWave launched its AI Website Builder, earning accolades as Product of the Day and Product of the Week in Design Tools on Product Hunt. This recognition underscores the user community’s enthusiastic response to WebWave’s innovative AI feature.

Competing against approximately 50 new daily entries on Product Hunt, the success is notable. It signifies a

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Columbia Falls has extended a large-scale development pause for another 6 months

The small Down East town that had been eyed as the potential site of the world’s tallest flagpole will extend a large-scale development moratorium by another six months.

Columbia Falls residents initially approved a six-month pause on major commercial or high-density development back in March.

Aga Dixon, the town’s attorney, said that the work of drafting new ordinances and regulations to better react to big developments is about halfway complete. Town and planning board officials have been meeting almost weekly, and Dixon said she expects they will present a draft code of ordinances to voters for their consideration sometime this fall or winter.

“Columbia Falls is in a position that a lot of rural communities are in,” she said. “Land use planning has not been top of the mind. Resources have not been there to do this work. And sometimes it takes a little bit of development pressure or concern to rattle voters, rattle residents and get to doing this hard work.”

The town has said that it’s experienced a variety of development pressures over the years, and not just from the Worcester family, the Wreaths Across America founders that had pitched the construction of a multi-billion-dollar flagpole and veterans memorial park near Columbia Falls.

A spokesperson for the Worcesters didn’t immediate return a request for comment on Tuesday about the extended moratorium or the status of the flagpole project. As of Tuesday afternoon, a website for the proposed “Flagpole of Freedom” park appeared to be offline.

Dixon said the town hasn’t asked for or received any updates about the status of the flagpole project.

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Where’s the money? Where creative agencies envision growth in 2024

Marketing efforts and campaigns increasingly demand unique ideas and creativity to capture and engage consumers in a world that is overloaded with content. 

Beyond traditional means, 2023 saw many creatives incorporate experiential elements and storytelling to hold onto consumers’ attention. Many anticipated artificial intelligence (AI), automation, and interactive experiences to dominate marketing strategies, according to a report by Hubspot.

These trends continue to hold relevance as we march towards 2024. An analysis by Forbes this year predicted that AI-driven interactions will propel methods to engage consumers in real time and drive conversions.

Additionally, as virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technologies advance, the border between the digital realm and reality is becoming increasingly porous, it said. Brands are set to increasingly incorporate these technologies into their marketing campaigns.

Don’t miss: Where’s the money? Growth opportunities for social media agencies in 2024

Similarly, these AI solutions will also drive more personalised consumer experiences, such as through content recommendations and dynamic pricing tactics, according to a report by Brand Vision. Meanwhile, it predicted that AR will enhance the experiences that marketers create for consumers, such as virtual try-on features in the fashion industry or AR-powered home design simulations.

Given these trends, what will power creativity in the coming year? In this third instalment of MARKETING-INTERACTIVE’s “Where’s the Money?” series, eight creative agency professionals share their thoughts on what will be the moneymaker of 2024.

Tay Guan Hin, creative chairman, BBDO Singapore

“Virtual reality.”

To Tay, virtual reality (VR) is the winner to bet on for the profit turner of 2024. He highlighted how the market size for VR is on track to nearly double from 2022 to 2024, with the potential to soar beyond $22 billion by 2028.

According to Deloitte Global, the VR industry was set to

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