Alaina Roberts

The power of Kanban boards in marketing: a project-level view

The power of Kanban boards in marketing: a project-level view

Marketing’s remit is forever expanding, requiring a blend of creativity, strategy, and effective project management. One tool that has increasingly become central to effective marketing is the Kanban board. As with any tool, the effectiveness of Kanban boards lies in how they are used and managed.  

A key tool in the application of agile marketing, Kanban boards have crossed over from many other industries due to their ease of visualising workflow, managing tasks, and fostering collaboration. Marketing, with its multiple tasks and objectives, can particularly benefit from this approach.  

However, a common question arises when everything in Marketing is connected: should we maintain a project-level Kanban board or a tactical one? 

Project-level boards vs tactical boards 

The project-level board provides a broader view of the whole project, including the diverse tasks needed to achieve a marketing campaign’s goal. It tracks the project’s progress from start to finish, showing the status of all tasks at a glance: what’s been completed, what’s in progress, and what’s yet to be started. It’s like looking at a map of a journey from a bird’s eye view.  

On the other hand, a tactical board is more focused. It manages individual or interrelated tasks that make up a project. While this micro-level view can be handy in managing the intricacies of tasks, it might not show how these tasks fit into the overall project, and it can lead to losing sight of the big picture and end up increasing the siloes rather than removing them. 

In marketing, where campaigns often involve interlinked activities (content creation, social media promotion, email campaigns, etc.), it becomes more advantageous to opt for a project-level board. This broad outlook ensures that all elements are interconnected and moving in harmony towards the campaign’s overall goal. 

Managing your Kanban board 

Regardless of the type of board you use, its efficiency boils down to proper management. Here are some tips to guide you:  

  1. Regularly update: Ensure the board is frequently updated with the status of tasks. It should be an accurate reflection of the project’s state.
  1. Prioritise tasks: Use a system (like color-coding and tagging) to signify task importance or urgency. It helps to focus the team’s efforts on what matters most.
  1. Limit WIP (Work-In-Progress): Kanban encourages completing tasks before taking on new ones. Set a WIP limit to prevent the team from being overwhelmed and to enhance productivity.
  1. Feedback and improvement: Have regular reviews and retrospectives. Use feedback from these sessions to streamline processes and improve the board’s functionality.

While tactical Kanban boards can be useful for managing detailed tasks, the interconnected nature of marketing activities makes the project-level board a more effective choice.  

Team benefits of Kanban boards 

As previously mentioned, Kanban boards contribute to maximise project management efficiency but how do we see the benefits play out within our teams?   

Accountability: Teams can prioritise tasks based on the appropriate coding system ensuring high priority tasks are not missed as well as enabling teams to have full autonomy through clear accountability and ownership of tasks. 

Simplicity: Kanban boards can be replicated, changed and adapted resulting in a simple, intuitive and swift adoption practice within teams.  

Remote collaboration: Whilst we are all still trying to adapt to new ways of working – especially across different verticals, industries and geographical locations – Kanban boards allow cross-functional teams to collaborate without missing key updates – wherever they are in the world! 

Well managed, a Kanban board can be a game-changer, promoting transparency, increasing, improving and maximising efficiency, and ultimately, driving your marketing campaign towards success. 

If you are looking to improve your ways of working to enhance your team’s agility and effectiveness, our Agile Marketing one-day training bootcamp is a good place to start.

Run by our team of accredited B2B agile marketing trainers and practitioners. Quickly empower your team to:  

  • Work smarter – make the most of your people, budget, tools and time  
  • Implement experimentation to drive continual improvement 
  • Use data & insights to inform decision making 
  • Demonstrate results and ROI at pace 
  • Pivot or persevere – easily adapt to market forces 

Contact us to find out more about our one-day Introduction to Agile Marketing bootcamp 

Resources/reading list:

Alaina RobertsThe power of Kanban boards in marketing: a project-level view
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How to use content AI and remain authentic – practical guidelines

How to use content AI and remain authentic – practical guidelines

If you are someone who writes content for a living, you may have entered 2023 a little worried about your job following the launch of ChatGPT in late November 2022. There’s no denying that on first trying out the tool, it was impressive just how quickly it could write something that was clear, well-structured and seemingly accurate. But by the third or fourth go, you quickly realised that it all looked and sounded the same, and it was glaringly obvious when someone had copied and pasted straight out of it. Content writers everywhere breathed an audible sigh of relief. The robots haven’t replaced us just yet!  

However, it’s exciting to explore how we can achieve productivity gains and access these vast knowledge banks to lift our own content, striking the balance between AI and human capabilities. Here are our guidelines on how to get the best out of content AI tools while still sounding “human”, authoritative and authentic. 

Your research helper 

Use ChatGPT or other content AI to help you research your topic and develop your key points for your piece, alongside your other previous research methods. It can also be used to research clients, client prospects, the state of the industry and so on. But asking the right questions is critical and you should never accept the first response you receive. So much so that some companies are now hiring “prompt engineers” with expertise in this area. You must keep refining your prompts to get higher quality responses and reach the level of depth you require.  

Note that ChatGPT has limited knowledge of events after a certain date and nobody seems to be clear when that date is according to a recent article by ZDNet. You may need to stick with traditional research methods if it’s recent events you’re interested in. Take an agile approach to testing what research methods work best to produce an outline which is comprehensive and accurate. 

Creating personas 

Open AI has given ChatGPT a carefully chosen tone of voice which is designed to appeal to the majority and is best described as neutral and professional, i.e. a bit generic and boring. However, you can train ChatGPT to create content that reflects your organisation’s unique style, vocabulary and tone of voice.  

To do this, you need to create a training dataset which consists of a range of content examples that reflect your organisation’s tone of voice. This should include blogs, social media posts, articles and client-facing emails and cover a variety of topics. 

If you produce content for multiple organisations, you can create different ChatGPT personas for each organisation which reflect their individual writing style. Building on an agile approach, you could set up different personas for an organisation to help test different styles and see which achieves the most engagement. 

Need for speed 

Like the famous racing game series, the pressure to increase efficiency and speed impacts us all. Content AI can absolutely help you to write and produce content much faster than previously, by speeding up the phase that takes the most time — researching and planning your piece. This can allow you to focus on the tasks that require more creativity and innovation.  

Be careful though, ChatGPT isn’t perfect and can sometimes generate inaccurate information. It’s only as good as the data it’s trained on and as with all things, fact-checking and a good pinch of common sense is required. 

Overcoming writer’s block 

Sometimes getting started is the hardest thing when it comes to writing and we all suffer from writer’s block from time-to-time. Asking content AI what it thinks about a certain subject can be enough to kick-start the creative juices. Once they start flowing again, it’s time to step away from the AI.  

Run a pilot 

We always recommend taking an agile approach and running a pilot to test and learn before deciding which content AI to adopt within your organisation. This provides the opportunity to demonstrate to leadership how the tool can help improve your team’s productivity without compromising on quality. As with all AI, privacy and security should be a key consideration. Leaders need to ensure guardrails are in place for their teams to be able to test and adopt AI solutions safely. This agile approach enables you to test and learn then quickly scale where value is demonstrated. 

Human’s rule 

ChatGPT and other content AI are still powerful tools and can speed up the content writing process, but they cannot replace human creativity, intuition and empathy. It’s essential to strike a balance between AI and human capabilities to achieve the best outcomes. Any piece of content should always reflect your organisation or client’s tone of voice to ensure it remains consistent and authentic. 

Content AI can’t compete with your insider knowledge about your market and your audiences. Always remember you are the expert in your area!   

 

Get in touch to find out how Bright can help you harness agile marketing to deliver your marketing strategy in 2024.

Resources/reading list:

Alaina RobertsHow to use content AI and remain authentic – practical guidelines
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Discover new possibilities with Reframe Cards – Make 2024 brighter, one prompt at a time! 

Discover new possibilities with Reframe Cards – Make 2024 brighter, one prompt at a time! 

Download your cards to reframe conversations and spark fresh perspectives. 

The Reframe Cards are designed to bring creativity and agile thinking into your team’s communication. 

By offering specific prompts, these cards encourage team members to share their thoughts, ideas, and opinions more openly, fostering a culture of transparency and collaboration.

Each Reframe Card aims to stimulate problem-solving discussions, driving the team towards actionable, goal-focused solutions.

Reframe your thinking for 2024

Ready to reframe your mindset and your conversations? Download your Reframe Cards today! 

Great to use in team meetings or to kick-start internal workshops, these cards cover the following areas:

 ⭐️ Design thinking – Challenge conventional strategies, embrace a fresh perspective and find innovative solutions to complex problems. 

 ⭐️ Activating agile – Unlock agile methodologies to enable adaptability, perform efficiently and drive a results-focused approach.

 ⭐️ Experimentation Experiment with new ideas and strategies, encouraging a culture of continuous improvement and learning 

 ⭐️ Growth mindset Re-think your current practices, iterate towards exciting outcomes and deliver exceptional results through continuous learning. 

 ⭐️ Change enablement – Say goodbye to outdated approaches and enable your team to embrace change to stay ahead of the competition. 

Alaina RobertsDiscover new possibilities with Reframe Cards – Make 2024 brighter, one prompt at a time! 
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Journey through time: A curated reading list for the retrospective of 2023

Journey through time: A curated reading list for the retrospective of 2023

Welcome to a curated collection of thought-provoking reads and podcasts as a retrospective of 2023. Embark on a journey through the realms of AI, agile marketing, design thinking, and growth mindset with our carefully selected recommendations.

AI Insights for content marketers

Articles:

Podcast:

Activating agile marketing

Book:

  • Agile Marketing” by Neil Perkin – Explore adaptive marketing principles and practices, offering guidelines to redesign marketing structures fit for today’s changeable environment.

Design thinking unveiled

Books:

Podcast:

Embracing a growth mindset

Books:

Podcasts:

Dive into these resources to prepare yourself for 2024. Each recommendation is carefully chosen to enhance your understanding and inspire insightful discussions.

Alaina RobertsJourney through time: A curated reading list for the retrospective of 2023
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The power of inclusive design: Crafting creative experiences for all

The power of inclusive design: Crafting creative experiences for all

When it comes to engaging with your audience, you could have the most exciting, innovative product or piece of content, but if it’s not accessible then it won’t deliver the results you’re looking for. The concept of accessibility in design has reshaped the way we create products, experiences, websites, apps, and digital platforms, requiring designers to be even more creative in our approach to consider and deliver for all audiences and ultimately leading to increasingly innovative and inclusive design.

Understanding accessibility in design

Good design can connect with people around the world and across different cultures to create equity and accessibility, helping to foster an inclusive and socially responsible community. Embracing accessibility isn’t just a trend, but a commitment to designing with empathy and foresight to have a positive impact on people’s lives. It’s important to not think of accessibility requirements as a restriction, but instead an ignition to creativity, to innovate past basic delivery and offer different design layers.

Accessibility in design is about creating products and services that can be easily accessed, understood, and used by people, regardless of their physical or cognitive abilities. It is a key component of inclusive design, which puts accommodating diverse users’ needs and preferences at the core of a project.

Where to start with inclusive design

When you begin to consider how you can apply inclusive design thinking to your projects, it can be overwhelming to know where to start. The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) are international standards that help creatives develop accessible web content. While guiding structures around design can feel limiting, these guidelines set a platform for diving deeper into the creative process and encourage an innovative approach to deliver for all, not just the majority.

These guidelines are built on four guiding principles that fit under the acronym POUR:

The Inclusive design principles: perceivable, operable, understandable and robust

Example infographic using inclusive design principles

Infographic using inclusive design principles

Creating an accessible design involves incorporating features and considerations that enable people with disabilities to use a product, website, or environment effectively. Here are some essential elements that make the examples below more accessible:

  • Consistent navigation and layout
  • Plain language and easy-to-understand content
  • Contrast and colour choices
  • Readable fonts and typography
  • Digestible content in sufficient time

Promoting inclusive design

So, how can we deliver content and experiences for our audiences across different platforms that are digestible for everyone without sacrificing creativity? We put together some practical tips to help promote inclusive engagement whilst also ensuring creativity.

Test alternatives for visual content

Whether you are producing for a website or another digital product, descriptive alternative text (alt text) for images and graphics allows you to get creative with your visual design, while ensuring users with visual impairments can interpret what you’re communicating. Include descriptive text for the mood, story or artistic intent behind the image, not just the practical explanation, to enhance the experience for everyone.

Business reports and data visualisation

Clear reporting and data presentations are crucial to bringing your audience on your journey and building confidence in your strategic direction. To make these documents accessible, formatting is everything. Accessible PDFs or data tables used alongside visually engaging charts and graphs will give you extra opportunities to represent your data in an effective and creative way, whilst ensuring you’re being inclusive of a broader audience.

Experiential event design

When you think of an event experience, your first considerations are sight and sound. However, by incorporating other sensory elements such as touch, smell or taste into a tactile exhibit, you allow further opportunities for your audience to engage with your brand. You’ll find your full audience benefits from this well-rounded and memorable approach to event design.

Captioning and transcripts for multimedia

Turning on subtitles is becoming more popular across different audiences for TV shows and movies regardless of ability. If your project involves multimedia content like videos or podcasts, tools such as closed captions, transcripts, and audio descriptions help ensure you will reach a wider audience. Within inclusive design, these additions don’t just make your content more accessible for users with hearing or visual impairments, but also open opportunities for creative storytelling through synchronised captions or tailored transcripts that can capture nuances in spoken content. In the same way that a script has stage directions for actors, you can create a more valuable experience for your audience with further direction on how they can interpret the content.

Inclusive design is a journey that not only aligns with our social and ethical responsibility as creatives, but also expands the potential for innovation in design. It means designing with diversity in mind from the very beginning, rather than as an afterthought.

Whether we’re working on web projects, product packaging, or experiential events, inclusive design isn’t about compromise; it’s about expanding our horizons and reimagining the creative process. By thinking inclusively about our diverse user needs and providing alternative ways for people to engage, design can play an important role in making the world a more inclusive place. We encourage you to imagine and innovate without boundaries and explore how you can supercharge your creative design for your entire audience.

Resources/reading list:

Alaina RobertsThe power of inclusive design: Crafting creative experiences for all
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