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BUSINESS CLINIC36 www.exhibitionnews.co.ukhave always tried to learn from others outside our industry and extrapolate and enhance those experiences and lessons into my day-to-day role and fl ying is no different. I was recently off to some far-fl ung long-haul part of the globe. The benefi ts of many thousands of air miles reminded me that if one has to travel on business, then one should travel 'business'. Accordingly, I booked my e-ticket with a different carrier to my usual one (at the client's recommendation) and awaited the usual confi rmations and messages to fl ood in. My experience had always been to get a confi rmatory email, several itineraries, a few prompts to book my choice of seat, meal A TALE OF TWO HALVESISimon Naudi ponders how poor customer services can destroy your brilliant show after a rough ride with a new airline carrierpreferences and chauffeur services. Yet a mere 24 hours from my fl ight, I still hadn't been sent any follow-up details apart from my booking reference and passenger number. Being mildly technophobic, I entered the carrier's website and was inundated with information that was no doubt useful to many passengers but hopeless in directing me to the appropriate help section I required. I then telephoned and after the rigmarole of getting through and repeating several options, guessed at a department that could assist me. I was eventually told I needed a different telephone number for the chauffeur drive service. I dialled the number and faced a few additional automated choices before a human fi nally took my call and explained that I was not on their list. As my fl ight was now less than 24 hours away, I obviously could not book their service. If I wished to resolve the issue I would have to telephone another number (customer services) and take up the matter with them. I dialled yet another number and after a short automated sequence was told for my call to be connected, and 'for my convenience' I had to quote my passenger number. I spent at least eight minutes trying to assuage the automaton that my number was correct and that my accent was acceptable. Neither, in the event, proved satisfactory and I was disconnected as they were 'unable to process my call at that time'. I eventually re-dialled and pressed numbers at random until I was connected with a human being. I outlined my plight and was told I was being transferred again. Waiting to be connected while listening to piped muzak set off several pre-fl ight cigarettes. As you can imagine, I was really relishing the prospect of using my new carrier. I was then given a number to quote and reconnected with the chauffeur company, who conceded that I was after all on their system and the car would be sent for me. My fl ight was fi ne, the service was great, the food and accommodation as good as my usual airline. Would I use this company again? Probably not. Translate this to your event. Your show is great, educational content spot-on, but your registration or car parking arrangements suck. Will I visit your show again? Probably not. Makes you wonder doesn't it?- Simon Naudi is the MD of Answers Group.Your show is great, the content spot-on, but your registration or car parking sucks. Would I visit your show again? Probably not.Research from KPMG has found British businesses lag behind their geographic counterparts in emerging markets when it comes to adopting and using social media. In response, KPMG customer and channel partner Mark Guinibert has outlined his top three predictions around social media:1. The rules of the game will change: As the use of game mechanics to attract consumers' attention and generate debate will rise. "We will begin to see industries applying intrinsic motivators in the form of games to encourage much greater brand engagement," Guinibert said. "Businesses will start to take notice of fast growing mobile social networks like Instagram that are blurring the boundary between content production and consumption."2. Wide-scale debate will prevail: Social media laggards within businesses will reluctantly accept that non-participation is no longer an option. They will gradually facilitate more communication channels. "Firms will come to acknowledge that, only by being authentic, can they expect to appeal to customers tired of corporate spin."3. Transparency will become the norm: With increasing calls for greater corporate transparency after the fi nancial crisis, companies will recognise that opening themselves up to scrutiny via social media makes business sense. "When it's clear they have nothing to hide, they are much less likely to be on the receiving end of public criticism and are perceived as trustworthy," Guinibert commented. - KPMG study Going Social: How businesses are making the most of social media, April-May 2011. SOCIAL SCENARIOSTRATEGIC THINKINGDuring the recent CBI conference in London, prime minister David Cameron claimed UK businesses need to deal with their debts and go for growth. Although many organisations are expected to try and follow this advice, the current economic climate will make this a big challenge. According to strategy planner at Kiss Communications Sarah Reakes, one of the keys to driving business growth in 2012 is simplifying the brand strategy process. She advises companies to focus only on what will enable their business to stand out from the crowd. Reakes has worked with a wide range of bluechip multinationals on brand strategy including Colgate-Palmolive and Nestlé. Here are Reakes' top tips to improve your organisation's brand strategy:. Vision: Be clear about your business vision; where do you want to get to and by when.. Defi ne: Really understand what your brand stands for, who your customers are, who you are competing with; in short the current lay of the land.. Focus: On where you want to be, what you want your brand to stand for, to whom and why.. Position: Your brand for success. How are you going to appear in the marketplace, in what way should you be communicating in order to achieve your objectives?

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