Archive for November, 2010

Extending your iPhone 4 battery life

November 24, 2010

It’s been just over a week since I bought my first iPhone (4), and like many who have Apple’s brilliant smartphone, I quickly realised that the battery doesn’t last for very long compared with your average feature phone.

Smartphones such as the iPhone are incredibly useful tools if you’re a social media enthusiast like me. They allow you to keep up-to-date with your social networks, tweet on the move and check your emails remotely. All this in addition to being a phone (well, it is called an iPhone), multimedia centre and an MP3 player (amongst many other features). And it is all these great features that drains the iPhone’s battery life so quickly.

So, like anyone else, I went on the hunt within the blogosphere for some top tips on how to extend my iPhone’s fairly feeble battery life. What follows is some of the best tips* I found on my endeavours:

Update the latest software

Apple recommends that users always download the latest software for the iPhone as engineers may find new ways to optimise battery performance.

Reduce screen brightness

The brighter the setting, the more battery it requires. I always reduce mine to just below the half-way mark because I don’t need the phone to be that bright. Always ensure ‘auto-brightness’ is switched on. Go to Settings > Brightness

Turn 0ff 3G

If I’m in an area with limited or no 3G coverage, I sometimes turn the 3G settings off because battery is used up searching for a 3G signal. To disable 3G, go to Settings > General > Network and set Enable 3G to Off.

Turn off WiFi scanning off

If you’re in an area with no WiFi, then turn it off. The battery is used up as the iPhone will be constantly scanning for a WiFi signal. Go to Settings > Wi-Fi and set Wi-Fi to Off.

Turn off location services

Some apps, such as FourSquare and Facebook (Places) for example, require location services. If you don’t need these, switch them off by going to Settings > General > Location Services.

Turn off Bluetooth

I hardly ever use Bluetooth, and battery can be used up if it is left on constantly. Go to Settings > General > Bluetooth and set Bluetooth to Off.

Turn data push off

I found that when I first got my iPhone it was set so that data was being ‘pushed’. When I’m at work or at home, I find that I don’t need data being pushed to me, which automatically sucks in email and other data whenever it becomes available. I have therefore decided to check my email manually or set my phone to check for me periodically (fetch). Go to Settings -> Mail, Contacts, Calendar -> Fetch New Data

Fetch emails less often

Following on from the above point, ‘fetching’ means the iPhone will check periodically for data such as email. However, the more your phone needs to access a network, the more the battery is used. So set the iPhone to fetch data when you need it to. Go to Settings -> Mail, Contacts, Calendar -> Fetch New Data

Turn off apps that are not in use

A few days after I got my iPhone, I didn’t realise I had a number of apps running in the background even though I wasn’t using them. These apps use battery life and can be turned off. Double-click the Home button. This will bring up a list of apps at the bottom of the screen. Hold you finger over an app for about two seconds, and it will then begin to wobble. You’ll then have an option to close them down (this won’t delete them).

Use your iPhone regularly

It sounds a bit silly in a way, but using your iPhone regularly is good for the battery. For proper maintenance of a lithium-based battery, the electrons need to be kept moving. Apple also recommends that iPhone users go through at least one charge cycle per month (charging the battery to 100% and then completely running it down)

* This is by no means an exhaustive list and there are many more tips for extending the iPhone’s battery life. The list above is a refined list based on the tips that I have personally found useful.

Do you have any tips for extending the iPhone’s battery life? If so, I’d love to hear what they are.


Imagination holds the key

November 21, 2010

I saw a really interesting story this week about how the best-selling author Nick Hornby is setting up a series of workshops know as ‘The Ministry of Stories’. The Ministry of Stories will be funded by the Arts Council and will involve a number of famous authors, including Zadie Smith and Roddy Doyle, teaching children from the age of eight how to inject flair and imagination into storytelling. The scheme’s aim is to help encourage and inspire “a nation of storytellers”.

I think this is a fantastic idea and a news story that really grabbed my attention. Children have such wonderful imaginations and by encouraging them to write stories, songs, poems and blogs with the help of some brilliant literary figures will be a very interesting experiment.

It’s great to think that the children who benefit from The Ministry of Stories might one day go on to be involved in the literary world themselves.  However, they could just as easily go on and make a name for themselves in the business and marketing worlds, too.

Storytelling is a very powerful tool, particularly in marketing, and there are a vast array of books on the subject. Many marketing experts, including Mitch Joel, Seth Godin and Tom Peters have talked about how companies and brands that tell great stories are those that are more likely to be successful. Human beings have told tales for thousands of years (consider the cave paintings going back as far as 100,000 years!) because humans love to hear interesting, exciting, moving, scary or sad stories. We can relate to stories and connect with the people and situations in them because people love to know about people.

In business, stories can be used to illustrate the value of you and your product, and if told correctly, can help a business to earn trust and credibility in an increasingly sceptical society. But the stories must be subtle, appeal to people’s emotions and be aimed at a specific audience. If a story is too broad and aimed at ‘everyone’, then it will become diluted and a lot less effective.

Storytelling in business is a great way of differentiating yourself from your competitors by using innovative ways of  capturing the public’s imagination. It’s not about insincerity, but about getting your company’s message out there in a way that connects with the target audience.

The bright young minds who will benefit from The Ministry of Stories could certainly play their part in companies’ storytelling in the years ahead, that is if they decide to go on to be a marketer as opposed to a literary great! Either way, I hope the Ministry of Stories is a huge success and inspires children and young adults to open their minds and produce brilliant storytelling, whether it be factual or fictional.

Quality through and through

November 18, 2010

I really like the advertising that John Lewis produce. The messages they communicate are always very clear and the promotions are delivered with genuine quality and style.

The stand-out advert from John Lewis at present is a one minute television spot for Christmas 2010. The overall message of the ad is ‘For those that care about showing others they care‘, and the commercial cinematically  illustrates a number of gift-giving scenarios in wintry settings  behind a soundtrack from Ellie Goulding covering Elton John’s ‘Your Song‘.

John Lewis have got form when it comes to producing memorable television ads with distinct soundtracks. Christmas 2009 featured an acoustic cover of Guns n Roses’ ‘Sweet Child ‘O Mine’ by Taken by Trees. Whilst earlier this year, John Lewis made headlines in both the business and mainstream press with their ages of a woman commercial, featuring a cover of Billy Joel’s ‘Always a Woman’ by Fyfe Dangerfield. The music in John Lewis’ ads seem to be very well selected and compliment the nature and feel of the advertisements.

But it’s not just the music and content of the ads that work so well. And it’s not just television advertising from John Lewis that hits the right notes. The advertising is just one element of the marketing mix that John Lewis is employing so well in order to communicate the company’s overall marketing strategy. Whilst each TV ad conveys it’s own specific message, these are backed up by magazine and press advertising as well as a great website. John Lewis’ marketing communications portfolio demonstrates real quality and style so that customers know exactly what they’re getting from John Lewis: service, price – and quality. The staff (or partners) at John Lewis are all very well trained, the products they sell are of good quality  and the atmosphere within the stores is always clean and professional.

In a time of economic uncertainty businesses need to be clear and decisive in terms of their marketing strategies. John Lewis have always been about quality and by communicating this so effectively in their promotional activity – and backing it up with quality service and products in the stores – clearly shows that John Lewis know exactly where they want to be going and where they want to be positioned in the customer’s mind.

Creating great customer experiences

November 12, 2010

This post was inspired by Mitch Joe’s ‘Six Pixels of Separation’ podcast ‘Amazing Digital Marketing Experiences with Jared Spool’ (episode #226).

Services marketing was always one of my favourite marketing topics when I was studying marketing at university. In fact, I think it was services marketing and the idea of scripting, blueprinting and mapping the customer experience that really captured my imagination. Those three extra Ps in the extended marketing mix (People, Processes and Physical Evidence) allowed me to think of my own personal customer experiences and visualise how the marketers and planners for the company designed the whole experience.

For many companies, the customer experience can really add value to the brand and give the customer something very different.  And there’s no better customer experience than the one created – and maintained – by Disney.

At their theme parks across the world, Disney have led the way in creating a wonderful and memorable customer experience. The staff at Disney’s theme parks are trained as though they are actors. When they are out in front of the park’s visitors, they are ‘on-stage’ and can only come out of character once they are completely out of view of customers. All the people that work for Disney are part of the story – from the kiosk workers selling candy and sodas to the guys in the character suits playing Donald Duck, Minnie Mouse and Buzz Lightyear. The experience is all tied up in a bundle as part of the Disney brand, along with Micky Mouse, Cinderella’s castle and the famous Walt Disney signature.

But why do Disney bother going to such effort in order to create such a complex customer experience?

Website usability expert Jared Spool of User Interface Engineering points out that Disney have earned the right to charge customers significantly more for visits to their theme parks in comparison to other parks such as Six Flags, a US-based theme park company.  Disney have decided that it is worth the extra time and effort to create an experience-focused design as opposed to an activity-focused design, and that by adding value and creating a better user experience for customers  a price premium can be set. It is the increased margins from this premium that out-strips the extra cost for creating a higher level experience design.

Disney are different, imaginative, artistic – and remarkable. That (and 87 years of creativity and brand-building!) is what gives them the ability to offer customers a fantastic customer experience and charge them a premium in order to live and enjoy the Disney experience. Although the Disney strategy is not something all companies want (or need) to adopt, for businesses that are looking to improve their customer experience, Disney is an excellent example of how to do it – and do it really well.

What companies do you believe offer a great customer experience?

Social media and the university consciousness

November 4, 2010

As big as social media currently is (and is rapidly becoming), I was somewhat surprised last week on a recent trip to a university-run seminar to learn that some universities and colleges are not teaching social media as part of their marketing syllabus . What’s more, some senior lecturers do not fully understand what social media is and how it can be used as an integral part of the marketing mix.

It seems that in some academic circles, social media and its various tools are still considered relatively new and un-tested, especially compared with the more established mainstream mass marketing communication tools such as advertising, direct mail and public relations, for example. Social media may still be considered by some as a ‘fad’ and not a serious marketing communications tool that can be leveraged to increase brand awareness, build trust and ultimately lead to sales in the long-term. However, although social media cannot be considered to be a genuine revenue generator, as a tool for building confidence, trust and credibility it is proving itself time and again for many types of organisations.

Perhaps the reason for the slow uptake in the teaching of social media at universities and colleges is the rapid nature in which social media has taken off. Corporate marketing and communication through Facebook has increased exponentially over the past few years and it is becoming rare to find a company that doesn’t have a presence on Twitter to keep customers and other stakeholders up-to-date with what’s going on.  Even goverments are utilising social media to spread their messages.

As social media continues to grow, I’m sure the academic world will begin to take more notice and we will see lectures and classes on what social media is and how it is being used by both multinational corporations and SMEs as part of their marketing strategies.

But is it a good thing that graduates are leaving university grounded only in the practices of traditional marketing communications? Or does this grounding give them the skills to learn and adapt to changes in marketing by themselves once they have left higher education?