The Kobestarr Digital podcast will feature longform interviews conversations with people who I have met since starting Kobestarr Digital as a Digital Marketing Agency. It's a business podcast with an ever so slight bias towards the world of Digital Marketing be it Inbound Marketing, Growth Hacking, Social Media Marketing, SEO, Content Marketing.
Ep#20 Lubna and Jamien - The Animation Guys
What separates television from animation is imagination, according to The Animation Guys’ Lubna and Jamien.
“TV is great and you are creating but there are restrictions, of course, things like cast etc.,” Lubna told Kobi of Kobestarr Digital during a recent podcast on Kobestarr.
“I think you can take the story so much further. You can really drive a narrative somewhere, take your imagination beyond its limits then pull it back when you want to.
“It can be a lot more fun.”
Her coworker, Jamien, agreed calling animation the “most exquisite art form.”
He said there was a connection that an audience made with animation over a real life film that was unique.
“It aesthetically resonates with you that little bit more because of the fact that it is not real life.
“You can articulate these stories that are not only very heartwarming and moving but also they are more magical because you can do literally anything with animation.”
Jamien said he discovered his love for filmmaking, drawing and telling stories while traveling.
“I went from India all the way through to China, Thailand, New Zealand and really just wanted to explore the world. What really stuck with me was that unique quality to just tell a really good story.”
After trying to get a “sensible” job selling insurance, Jamien decided to study animation at Hertfordshire
“From that I spent all my summers working at internships, unpaid doing a lot of hours. It was tough.”
Lubna said she struggled for two years before taking a leap with her television career.
Following studies in communication with an eye for the visual medium Lubna was working two jobs- one marketing position for a ski slope and another at a bar.
“I would take all my holidays and weekends and go work for tv companies, knocking on doors, doing work experience, trying to run whenever I could,” she explained.
After a couple years of earning experience she quit both jobs and worked with some friends on a film proposal that became a hit after it appeared on ITV.
However, as the press from the 10 minute piece died down she began temping and received a break when she got offered a job as a researching on Scratchy & Co.
“It was one of the toughest jobs I’ve ever done, it was a real baptism by fire but also a lot of fun.”
After a successful run as a producer/director she joined The Animation Guys a few months ago.
The company creates advertising or entertainment pieces for clients.
“We are a fully fledged service house for animation. We work in 2D, 3D, motion graphic, and a lot of other things as well,” Jamien said, adding they were like a white label
“What we really like to do is get into the guts of people’s business.”
One of their upcoming projects is a series of cartoons about Hussain Manawer, a poet who won the opportunity to go into space.
Lubna said Manawer was an advocate for mental health, particular in youth.
“This series is effectively about Hussain’s adventures into space with his team of kind of space assistants. Each episode will deliver a message that will empower young people to kind of really help them find a voice,” she said.
They are also working on a piece based on one of his tracks from an upcoming album with Universal.
Jamien said he had recently been in Los Angeles meeting with some studios.
“It was really just to get an idea of the scope and what those guys were up to in a sense,” he explained.
“We also went over there to work on a music video that we have just finished actually for Jason Derulo,” he said, adding the track was called Swallow.
For more on the interview with The Animation Guys or to hear more of The Kobestarr Digital Podcast visit the iTunes website.
Animation Guys website: https://www.theanimationguys.com/
Animation Guys Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/theanimationguysltd/
Animation Guys LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/the-animation-guys
Ep# 19 Lee Ali - Expo Stars
When it comes to exhibitions companies need to have a plan or they risk striking out.
“The exhibition is a chance for clients and prospects to experience that brand,” Lee Ali from Expo Stars said.
“It all starts with asking the right questions about what that a trade show can do, how it can actually help us grow our business, than actually creating a strategy to target the type of people that you want to target who are your ideal customers,” he explained during a session of Kobestarr Digital Podcast.
“Once you know what you actually want to get out of the show, once you know who your target audience is then you can actually put an engagement strategy in place to attract those people to your stand and to come and talk to you.”
Ali, who is originally from Kashmir moved to the UK with his parents when he was 7 years old.
He opted to study accounting at college but didn’t take to the subject.
“Accountancy wasn’t for me because I was just writing down numbers all day and I thought there must be more to life than just numbers.”
He moved into sales in the “typical” way he said.
“I saw an ad in the newspaper saying ‘Make loads of money.’ My first sales job, at the age of 21, was selling time share. Not that I want to be proud of that but from a training perspective it was a great start to my sales career because I learned a lot about dedication and the sales process.”
Having now worked for 25 years in sales and nine years at Expo Stars Ali is considered an expert at turning prospects into customers.
Things changed for Ali in 2007 when he was at a trade show in Chicago and saw an interactive booth that was engaging attendees.
“It was like a lightbulb moment because I had been visiting exhibitions and knew business psychology and everything just came together just in that two minute process.”
He said he instantly saw the way the company was engaging attendees at the exhibition was a fantastic approach.
It was then that the idea for Expo Stars started to form, he explained.
“It took me the best part of about three months for me to investigate the business opportunity and get confidence that I could actually do it.”
Within a few months of Chicago, he had launched his company Expo Stars.
“At that moment I was at a crossroads with where I wanted to go with my career and everything just came at the right moment.”
He said that companies who are looking to be successful developing relationships and finding customers at trade shows needed to change their mentality of simply building a stand and waiting for people to come to them.
“We know that not everybody is going to walk past that stand. Not everybody will be curious to walk to every stand and find out what everybody is looking for,” Ali said.
“They are relying on the organiser to deliver those people and they are assuming that they will actually walk past that stand.”
Ali said that because most people attend trade shows to solve a problem or find a way to fulfil a need it was important to engage people in meaningful conversations “that will give them compelling reasons to actually follow up with you after the show.”
He said the first thing that needs to happen is proactive engagement.
That is where Expo Stars can help. They can handle all the details for companies planning a presence at an exhibition, from developing a strategy to supplying staff for the booth that are sure to engage attendees.
“Everybody that attends the exhibition is a potential client,” Ali said, adding that by attending the exhibition the attendees were giving exhibitors permission to sell to them.
“It is the only environment where people actually go where and say ‘I am looking for new ideas. I am looking for new products and services. Tell me what you’ve got’.”
For more on the interview with Lee Ali or to hear more of The Kobestarr Digital Podcast visit the iTunes website.
Expo Stars: www.expostars.com
Ep #018 Nicky Kriel
A born traveller Nicky Kriel move to the U.K. several years ago from South Africa with nothing more than a backpack. She now considers herself “very settled” in London. Having been raised by a New Zealand mother and a South African father - who met in London - she said traveling has come natural to her. These days Nicky has been traveling the globe to help teach business how they can use social media to increase their sales. With books like How to Twitter for Business Success and Converting Conversations to Customers, Nicky has become the go-to person for businesses looking to leverage social media as a growth tool for their company. In our
With books like How to Twitter for Business Success and Converting Conversations to Customers, Nicky has become the go-to person for businesses looking to leverage social media as a growth tool for their company. In our podcast Nicky talks about the phenomenal growth social media has seen in the last decade and how she thinks they will change moving forward. She also reveals some secrets for making the top social media platforms - Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn - more fun and engaging. “It is easy enough to build followers and the right followers by putting out the right content and having conversations. Actually being real,” she advised. Having confessed that she was a late starter on social media, Nicky said social media has become of
She also reveals some secrets for making the top social media platforms - Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn - more fun and engaging. “It is easy enough to build followers and the right followers by putting out the right content and having conversations. Actually being real,” she advised. Having confessed that she was a late starter on social media, Nicky said social media has become of way of life. “It’s hard to really think that it is only in the last decade that they have existed and there was life before Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn.” A self-described laggard, she admitted that she has never
A self-described laggard, she admitted that she has never be one to rush out and buy the latest technology but it is something she said has helped her connect with business clients. “I know from my own personal resistance to things where people are, “ she laughed. “There is resistance in terms of getting on social media so it is quite useful to take the approach of understanding where people might be coming from.” Learning to use social media as a marketing tool took her a while, she explained. When she initially tried using Twitter she said she gave up after two days but following a Mari Smith course about the
When she initially tried using Twitter she said she gave up after two days but following a Mari Smith course about the platform she found her calling. “Within a few weeks people were phoning me to ask me about coaching,” Nicky said. “Things just suddenly magically seem to happen.” When it comes to helping others directly or through books, Nicky said that writing a book is not as easy as it sounds. “Yes you can get words on a page but whether somebody wants to read it or not that is another matter.
If a book is not readable then there is no point in writing it.” Her latest book has been directed at small businesses to help them use social media marketing tools using a 5-step process. “The whole economy is helped if small businesses grow,” she said. During our cast Nicky offers some tips for businesses looking to promote their service or products online through social media with some simple tools that don’t cost a lot. She has shown people that social media is more about connections with others and how those connections can easily be turned into customers. “Think of people as real people,” she explains. “And make those connections.” In fact, Nicky says she has made connections through social media that may not previously have been possible. “I’ve had conversations with authors of books that I w
Ep #017 - Jörgen Sundberg from Link Humans on the Kobestarr Digital Podcast
Jörgen Sundberg and I have been exchanging Scandinavian Platitudes since he and his company "Link Humans" moved into our office space during the summer.
Jörgen places importance on communication, no more so than in social media. He drops by for the latest episode of the Kobestarr Digital Podcast to talk about all things digital marketing.
Having worked in the industry for 6 years, he’s found his niche, grabbed a few high profile clients, and discovered what really makes social media tick now that the gigantic, enthusiastic wave has broken up.
Jörgen came to London 13 years ago, having worked in recruitment for several tech companies back in his native Sweden, with the express intention of staying for one year. “I never looked back,” he says.
It took him a little while to get to social media though, considering it barely existed as we know it today. Instead, he began Undercover Recruiter. Initially a personal project and portfolio, it is now “the world’s largest recruitment blog” thanks to its informative tone, sharable content and heavy emphasis on the social side. It is a place for people to find information on job hunting, from the very basic (e.g. how to prepare for an interview) to the watercooler-esque (e.g. the 10 types of people you meet in every office).
Since 2010, he has been working with a small team in the form of Link Humans, a digital marketing agency. Originally born out of the name LinkedIn, it has since broken away from its inspiration and progressed in ways he couldn’t have imagined. Such a change has been necessary, given the progression of the media itself.
“Everyone and their dog wanted social media,” he says of the 2010-11 global craze - he doesn't believe that even now companies know properly how to use it, nor do they respect it. “Brands have ruined social,” he says. While it used to be a numbers game, and companies with 100,000s of followers could run the game, now it requires a far more nuanced approach. Companies must create content, share relevant content and market it through a matrix.
Far better, in Jörgen’s opinion, that people take the time to learn from each other. “Social media does not work in isolation.” he says, both within a company and between companies “It goes through recruiters, internal knowledge management, sales - it’s working it’s way through the system of a business”. That’s why he’s also the creator of Social Media London (or #SMLONDON for more twitter-savvy among us).
Originally a meetup group, it’s now the biggest Social Media Group in the UK and have hosted around 40-50 events and conferences. They are currently getting ready for their 3rd flagship conference, an evening of speeches followed by ping pong at Farringdon’s Bounce Bar on November 9th. (use the Promo Code "Kobi" at http://socialmedialondon.co.uk for a 50% Discount!)
With big name speakers promised, the idea is to inspire thought leadership among the 150 or so audience members.
Link Humans has matured with their clients and with social media itself. As we discuss, Facebook was borne as an organic platform but became more of a pay-to-play atmosphere for brands, something all businesses have to take into account.
Now Link Humans works with big name electronic distributors, offering B2B and (Jörgen’s speciality) recruitment help. As he puts it, “for a small company, we are spinning a lot of plates.”
NB - If you want to visit Social Media London, KSD podcast listeners get a 50% discount using the promo code "Kobi" book now via this link!
Link Humans Website http://linkhumans.com/
Link Humans on Twitter: @Linkhumans
Link Humans on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/linkhumans
The Undercover Recruiter: http://theundercoverrecruiter.com/
Social Media London: http://socialmedialondon.co.uk (use promo code “Kobi” for a 50% discount on tickets)
Episode #016 | Kobestarr Digital Podcast - No one has a career for life these days...
Lydia Wakefield appreciates the uncertainty of youth when it comes to professional routes. Having been through the education system herself, and then started her career there in higher education institutes across the UK, she understands the demands on graduates, or people younger and older than that, on selecting their careers.
Today on the podcast, Lydia and I discuss her work with IPSE, the community support it offers to freelancers, as well as what contract-workers old and young can do to maintain their professional standards and expectations.
“I have a mixed background, but it’s all within education and training,” Lydia says. Previously she had lived and worked in Nottingham, before moving back down to her native Somerset, where she worked for the University of Bath. Coaching MBA and Undergraduate students about their future prospects gave her a good indication about training and routes - and it surprised her that so few people knew about the many different progression paths available to people coming out of school.
One thing not a lot of graduates think about is starting off as self-employed. A degree is often seen as a means to an end, rather than by providing applicable skills that can transfer; as she says of the education system, “there’s too much focus on what you study, rather than on how you study”.
That’s not to say that education isn’t important. “A lot of industries prefer you to have qualifications, or certain certified skills,” she says. Again, knowing what you need to know, or what you need to learn (or what equipment, what tools you need) is one of the key weapons in the arsenal of the freelancer.
Soon enough, she found herself expanding on this role as the Education and Training Manager for IPSE. IPSE, on the basic level, provides training and support for freelance and contractors, whether that’s through providing documentation itself (like a template invoice), or just the advice on how to draw up a contract with an employer.
“No one has a career for life these days,” she tells me. The generation that would pick one thing and do it until they retire has given way to the more transient, migratory workforce. It’s totally possible for anyone with a bankable skill to become a self-employed contractor, she explains, but it requires a little more nous than usual to survive.
One problem that freelancers commonly encounter is that they are being taken advantage of, and lack the employment rights to strength their tenuous positions. One way to combat this, she explains, it educating yourself with the right knowledge. Arts, Literacy, and Media sector workers lean heavily on freelance work - but while any courses they might take will teach them the finer aspects of their crafts, very few will teach them the business elements that they need to know to thrive; things like tax, or how to set up a business in the first place.
Another issue is the problem of value. Self-worth is hard to measure, harder still when you offer a service that is far less tangible than say, a product. She notes, “freelancers are talented individuals, that’s why they do what they do, that’s why they deserve to be valued.” The onus lies on the companies to not take advantage, or to overstep the boundaries of a pre-agreed contract, but also on the freelancer to better understand themselves and what they offer - and what they can reasonably expect.
We also discuss her resounding belief in the “No Free Work” attitude, as well as some recent corporate case studies that should cause any self-respecting freelancer some embarrassment. They dispel a few myths about freelancing, and emphasise that everybody needs to learn how to value themselves. In this day and age, “any industry can go self-employed”, she says. And with IPSE, it seems like they’d have all the clout they need to back themselves up.
Lydia on Twitter: https://twitter.com/_lydiaregina
Episode #015 Manuel Frigerio of Maitre On The Kobestarr Digital Podcast
In this episode of the podcast we are luck enough to have Manuel Frigerio of Maitre.
Maitré, is a widget that can be installed onto any website that gives you a viral mailing list. When people click to sign up and receive a special offer or competition, they are added to a waiting list. On this list they can see how many people are ahead of them, and how many people are behind them. If you want to climb the list you simply need to your friends to do the same.
This viral promotion has been inspired by the successes of Dropbox, Mundo et al. and since it’s launch in January has seen remarkable success. Some brands have used it to encourage thousands of users to sign up. In one success story, Manuel explains how one company managed a staggering 400,000 in 5 days, crashing the server entirely.
It’s success is based entirely on the trust of an inner circle. With a tweet, Facebook or LinkedIn post, a single user has access to a network of people that a company would do anything to have. There is nothing more powerful than a personal referral, and little more addictive than adding an air of competition to it.
Manuel knows Maitré is not the be all and end all, “it’s not magic, it’s just a tool,” thus it only works if people make it work for them, and offer interesting, exciting things to people who sign up. Manuel tells us that he is the “least techy person in the world”, which is why Maitré also allows clients to work on their own backend to the product. The resulting ingenuity (including some dropbox-esque mechanics) has far outstripped anything he could have imagined.
● Manuel Frigerio on Twitter: https://twitter.com/mnlfrgr
● Maitré: https://maitreapp.co/
● Event Ninja: https://twitter.com/eventninjaio
Huge shout out the Tony and Jay at GL Productions for the excellent editing skills and to Mighty People to the music that you can hear on the show.
If you want a free marketing assessment just head over to Kobestarr.io/free
You’ve got nothing to lose, everything to gain! Thanks everybody for listening! Bye!
This was a great podcast. It is always a pleasure to here Laura speak with such passion about BNI, and Kobe’s interview style helpful to extract information from Laura in a positive and informative way. Although a member of BNI already, had I not been, listening to this podcast would be enough to tempt me to want to check out a local BNI meeting.
Production is clear and its easy to listen, a great job all round.
Great to hear from the London founder community
It was a pleasure to be on the podcast, and it's great to hear stories from other inspiring people in the London community. Great show for anyone starting on their business journey.