Driverless cars, pet gadgets and smart drones – a few things we learned at CES 2018

Welcome_to_Fabulous_Las_VegasEvery now and then CES, the world’s largest and most influential consumer electronics show, gets eclipsed by something that is happening elsewhere in the gadget world at the same time.

This year the big topic of conversation was centred around the Uber rival Lyft. In collaboration with its partner Aptiv it offered delegates a free drive around the Las Vegas strip in one of its driverless cars. As it only had a pool of eight and over 100,000 tech obsessives attended CES it became the hottest ticket in town. Working out how to get a ride became a preoccupation for many delegates.

Nevertheless this year’s CES did deliver some interesting products. Many are at the transitional stage, several years away from making their mark in the real world, but if anything the event gave those who attended an interesting perspective on the future.

Here then are eight things we learned at CES.

read more
Driverless cars, pet gadgets and smart drones – a few things we learned at CES 2018

Where are they now? Clarity’s ed-tech alumni

edtech2The UK now has as many education technology companies as those in the financial technology space – and the country attracts a third of all Europe’s ed-tech investments, according to research for this year’s London EdTech Week.

Learning is close to the hearts at Clarity. That is why the company last year selected the UK Electronics Skills Foundation (UKESF), which encourages young people to study and work in the electronics sector, to benefit from pro bono communications services.

And, in the last few years, we have helped many of the emerging crop of ed-tech startups spread their message. But every student graduates, so what have our ed-tech alumni been doing since working with us?

fireflylearning

Firefly Learning

Firefly is a learning platform, school intranet and Virtual Learning Environment that helps boost education digitally, by helping students, teachers and parents to easily create and share a range of material.

And it made a great story. Joe Mathewson and Simon Hay started the company in 1999, whilst themselves studying as pupils at St Paul’s School, London, in a bid to digitise their homework and assessment processes.

Now the platform is up to version six, introducing self-marking questions, advanced assessment workflows, smart lesson plans and, because education shouldn’t all be done on devices, a projection mode, for teachers to easily show their content on a large screen.

Home Learning College

Learning, like society, is going through a revolution. Many people believe that traditional teaching methods, like a teacher addressing a room of silent children from the front of classroom, belong in the Victorian era.

Home Learning College aimed to change all that. With its online community now numbering tens of thousands of students around the world, its founders really know how to make digital learning materials engaging for everyone. In fact, it was clear they felt elearning didn’t just have to be as good as in-person learning – it could be far more effective.

Since working with Clarity, the company has gone on to become the UK’s largest online provider for professional qualifications, has clocked over two million learning hours per year, for more than 3,800 companies and has even rebranded to the snappy-sounding “Avado”.

primo toys

Primo

When Primo emerged in 2014, the “learn to code” mantra was still a little left-field. But, by the time Primo founder Filippo Yacob, a former engineer and university drop-out, had finished doing a tour of UK news channels to spread the word, the country was slowly switching on to the necessity for play things that helped children learn logic.

Cubetto is Primo’s wheeled wooden character that rolls along the floor when a child, aged three and up, inserts shades in to a board in the correct pattern.

Since working with Clarity, Primo has gone on to be featured in an Amazon Video documentary about entrepreneurship, to become pivotal to education programmes in places like Illinois and Belgrade, and to raise $781,823 through Kickstarter for a new product line – eight times what it sought.

We love the story Primo tells about its mission to intervene early in children’s education, and think you’re going to see Cubetto on more living room floors in the years ahead.

read more
Where are they now? Clarity’s ed-tech alumni

The Best of the Worst: 2017’s PR Disasters #3: The Ego-driven, Schadenfreude-inducing Fyre Festival Catastrophe

fyre

With a too-small team of inexperienced, egotistical and greedy bros at the helm, not enough time and even less money, the Fyre festival is our third dis-honoree for PR Disaster of the Year. This event, promoted as a lavish, star-studded extravaganza on a private island in the Bahamas, was destined to be a failure from the very beginning.

Perhaps if their marketing had been as inept as their planning, they could have kept this misguided, overly-ambitious idea from becoming the utter clusterf* that it was.

read more
The Best of the Worst: 2017’s PR Disasters #3: The Ego-driven, Schadenfreude-inducing Fyre Festival Catastrophe

Rapid growth, Brexit concerns, gender issues: 20 quick facts about the state of European tech in 2017

SOET17_Titleimage_03.2-1024x576

Each year VC Atomico compiles a report into the state of European technology focusing on the growth of companies, the amount of investment and the key trends around industry niches. To compile the data it hooks up with many partners from LinkedIn to the London Stock Exchange and supports this by interviewing founders from across the continent.

This year is especially interesting from a British perspective as the report shows the impact of the triggering of Article 50 on the tech community in both the UK and Europe.

It is a fascinating, if slightly hefty read, so if you don’t have the time to wade through the whole doc (download here) we have plucked out 20 of its most interesting conclusions.

read more
Rapid growth, Brexit concerns, gender issues: 20 quick facts about the state of European tech in 2017

Things to consider before engaging in a Christmas PR campaign

Christmas-Wallpaper-Free-01Christmas is one of the key sales periods for any product business. Alongside an integrated marketing campaign, engaging a PR company for that well-needed sales boost over the festive period is a very effective way to increase brand awareness and get your product in front of the people who are most likely to buy it.

If you are thinking about PR for next year, here are six things to consider to ensure that your Christmas PR campaign is a success.

read more
Things to consider before engaging in a Christmas PR campaign

The German tech industry’s take on the recent governmental elections – a missed opportunity?

reichstag-273832_960_720

Incredible as it may seem the German governmental elections were actually in September and we still have a stalemate. In recent elections there have been three outcomes; a left-green, a conservative-liberal or a grand coalition. Yet this year many things have changed. As the first round of talks just failed, many of the people in the field of startup business are disappointed. We may have missed a big opportunity for Germany here.

But first a very brief summary of the results for everyone that did not follow the German elections in detail.

read more
The German tech industry’s take on the recent governmental elections – a missed opportunity?

How we set up a Black Friday newsroom for PCA Predict – and the amazing results we achieved

Screen Shot 2017-12-01 at 12.46.02

Black Friday is one of the busiest dates in the retail calendar, and it offered a real time to shine for Clarity client PCA Predict (a GBG company). However it’s also one of the most saturated with many companies competing to be heard. It was our challenge, therefore, to cut through the noise and gain media exposure for PCA Predict in a very competitive space.

read more
How we set up a Black Friday newsroom for PCA Predict – and the amazing results we achieved

The Best of the Worst: 2017’s PR Disasters – #2: United Airlines and the “Re-Accomodation” Debacle

united

As 2017’s terrible, no good, very bad headlines continue to unfurl, so too does my look back at some of year’s worst PR disasters and the lessons that can be gleaned from the mishandlings of others. And speaking of mishandling, our case today is one that started with, quite literally, that, by United Airlines.

The whole catastrophe began in early April, coincidentally right as competing airline Delta coming out of its own crisis following a snowballing series of bungled operations that left many passengers and at least one corpse stranded on tarmacs. In an incident that perhaps had Delta’s C-suite breathing a sigh of relief, a video shot with a mobile device on a still-boarding United flight revealed one unlucky, randomly-chosen ticket-holder getting violently dragged off of the aircraft by airport security. As the saying goes, if it bleeds it leads, and in little time, the clip was viewed millions of times all over the world.

That’s bad enough. But United managed to make it worse, giving a woefully inadequate response and earning their reputation its own dragging, this one through the mud.

read more
The Best of the Worst: 2017’s PR Disasters – #2: United Airlines and the “Re-Accomodation” Debacle

Campaign Focus: Bolt Mobility – driving the electric revolution through Europe

bolt-master-6-130717-boltkrat-hq-0-00-15-12-2

Account Exec Luke McDowell on Clarity’s campaign for Bolt Mobility

I joined Clarity in June after four years working across television production; that included drama, entertainment and local news, and in that time I’ve dealt with a lot of subject matters regarding how we get from A to B.

PreviewThe future of transport is a big question at the moment; with lots of people getting very excited about developments such as autonomous cars and Tesla’s proposed Hyperloop. There seems to be several solutions emerging which will eventually deliver a viable alternative to  petrol and diesel powered trains.

Bolt Mobility are an emerging Dutch company who have created an electric scooter. Interestingly, a petrol scooter or moped can actually be more polluting than a lorry or delivery van. This is due to the use of older style engines found in a wide range of these vehicles on our roads today. Bolt’s AppScooter will be able to travel 400km on a single charge, an actual comparable alternative to a petrol engine’s range.

As Clarity’s resident petrolhead, I was very excited to work this account. I think that electric-powered transport is the future, especially after Tesla managed to change everyone’s opinions with cars and make electric sexy. Bolt are doing the same thing but in a different way. Their AppScooter isn’t just efficient, it’s good looking and something that people will want to drive!

We worked with Bolt on a pan-European campaign that was centered around their fundraise on Seedrs and it proved incredibly successful. They finished with over 200% of their initial target, raising €3,225,551!

Working with our Berlin team we were able to spread the word about Bolt’s successful funding across the continent. Coverage was secured in the UK, Italy, Portugal, Spain, France and Germany. Large, national publications also covered Bolt across Europe including; The Independent, La Vanguardia, Il Sole 24 Ore, Jornal Economica and MSN Deutschland.

In the end the campaign secured 116 pieces of coverage against a target of 15, with several major hits like Yahoo! and Gründerszene. The best part of a campaign like this though is that the company ethos and their product is innovative and something that can actually make a difference, so watch this space when Bolt AppScooters hit the road in 2018.

Words Luke McDowell

 

read more
Campaign Focus: Bolt Mobility – driving the electric revolution through Europe

The Best of the Worst: 2017’s PR Disasters – #1: Pepsi “Live for Now”

pepsi-live-for-now

As 2017 draws to a close, it’s time to look back at the year it has been, a year that just seemed to start low and then test the limits of how low low can go. And as we’re currently inundated with a continuing stream of awful stories about the misdeeds and sometimes crimes of high profile men, I thought a bit of reflection on the PR disasters of a more innocent time might remind people that it’s not that hard to stay out of trouble in the first place.

So, with that, here is the first in a series of posts that explore some of the most reputation-busting stories from 2017, looking at what exactly went wrong and how it could have been avoided in the first place.

read more
The Best of the Worst: 2017’s PR Disasters – #1: Pepsi “Live for Now”