As most of my colleagues at Clarity know, I am a big lover of words. My most oft-used mobile app is Shortyz Crosswords. I occasionally coin my own terms when the existing ones don’t quite do it (favorites include deja tune, which is having a song stuck in your head, and klognichtfreuden, which is the exclamation one cries out upon the sudden realization that he/she is wearing totally the wrong shoes for their outfit). I even joke about officially changing my middle name, so I can legally be Sherry Word Smith.

But there is one word that I can no longer stand, and I see it all the time, especially in marketing and PR. I’m so fed up that it’s now my mission to eradicate it. And it’s not one of those like “Moist,” which is just kind icky sounding. This one has just been so overused that it’s now meaninglessness, and so it must die.

I am on a mission to kill the “Leader.” 

Healthtech is an active and growing sector of the global technology industry, encompassing medicine, life sciences and biotech. It’s arguably one of the areas of technology that has the greatest potential to change the world for the better by improving the lives of millions – if not billions – of people.

Here in the UK, there are several interesting schemes and companies that are pioneering treatments and technologies that can boost the quality of our lives. The government- and EU-backed accelerator launched in 2016, two years after the MedCity scheme created a healthtech cluster in the south east of England. Since then we have seen the emergence of another accelerator in HS Live, a Clarity client that has a unique approach to the way it grows healthtech startups.

But it isn’t just the UK where innovative healthtech services, platforms and products are being created. For example, Medicon Valley spans the Øresund Region of eastern Denmark and southern Sweden and boasts a number of life science companies and research institutions. Elsewhere in the world, the US and China have a strong grounding in healthtech, even if there are some dismissive voices in Silicon Valley who believe digital health is a failed sector due to its lack of unicorns.  

Digital advertising is a £165 billion industry, but it is one that has a fairly significant problem. Yet after a gathering of key decision makers last week, we may be one step closer to a long-term solution.

Let’s take a step back. Think about the way you’ll spend your day today, from avoiding eye contact on the commute to checking your phone before you head to bed. According to recent data, you’ll spend a third of the day “online”; in five years’ time it’ll be even more. And whether you’re checking emails, Googling, booking tickets or wasting time on Snapchat, it’s fuelling our era-defining appetite for all things digital – an appetite strong enough to support dozens of new industries and millions of new jobs. Ultimately, many of those industries and people are reliant on doing one thing well: monetising your attention.

Digital media owners – the ones who make the content, services and platforms we now love and use daily – need to make money. And that’s where you come in. For most of them, your attention is a valuable commodity, and one they happily trade in the search for a sustainable business model. From the first time you clicked ‘like’ on Facebook to the next time you let Alexa write your shopping list – you leave a trail of digital breadcrumbs that helps sellers sell, advertisers advertise, and a few intermediaries take a cut along the way. Sounds fair and simple, right?

Sadly not. The digital media supply chain has very quickly become very cluttered – riddled with loopholes, blind spots, hidden costs and more. Every link in the chain played their part, meaning that despite exponential growth, the burgeoning adtech industry was (morally) built on sand. “Where there’s mystery, there’s margin” says Jaguar Land Rover executive Ian Armstrong, in a new report from Clarity client iotec – the independent, transparent media buying platform. Even the world’s most successful tech giants – the pioneers of commoditising our digital lives – have faced backlash and reputational damage over transparency and control of content. Brands are growing worried, as made clear by some major stick-rattling by FMCG giant Unilever just last week.

So what do you think are the key trends that will shape earned media in 2018? Are they likely to be technologically-driven? Or are the most significant changes going to be cultural ones that are a response to the ever evolving world of news media?

Gorkana asked a series of experts for their predictions for 2018 and came up with four major trends, two tech and two cultural, that it believes anyone in earned media needs to be following. Among the experts who peered into their virtual crystal balls for Gorkana was our very own MD Sara Collinge.

The 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?


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


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.

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.

Christmas 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.

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.

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.


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