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June 28, 2016

Diversity: The Catalyst for Creativity

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Diversity is a hot topic at the moment. With last week’s Pride in London, we feel proud of the open, diverse and vibrant nature of London. But with ever rising rents how do we keep our city this way, and more importantly, why should we?

Our managing director Alex Goat is the co-founder of The Great British Diversity Experiment – an initiative which aims to change the face of the creative industries with significant, tangible outputs that would lead towards diversity. She says, ‘London’s diverse heritage is what makes it unique. London is at it’s best when you have many different types of people coming together through crisis or positivity. We’re at a difficult time where it’s becoming too expensive for young people without lots of money to come into London. There’s a risk that people will stop coming or that there might even be a talent drain of our own young people. We need to create opportunities where young Londoners can have a living wage.’

Put simply, we need to do everything we can to keep young talent in London. Talent like Shanice Mears, a creative intern who moved from Birmingham this year. She moved to London for the opportunities she felt the city had to offer, and has been thinking a lot about diversity since moving here and starting in the creative industries. ‘London is the capital – and a leader of change. If you keep diversity, you keep creativity. Having different opinions and voices in the room provides innovative way of seeing things, with great results.’

Different viewpoints and opinions inducing better creative work seems like a no-brainer. Alex has already started to see brilliant work being produced as a result of the Great British Diversity Experiment. ‘The creative industry is far behind other sectors so we have to have an active debate on diversity. By ensuring a diverse workplace, we insure people are able to come to work and be their authentic selves, be happier and produce better, more creative work.’

This is certainly in line with Shanice’s experience. ‘Since being in the workplace and being a minority, I’ve questioned whether I was giving value. You’re not supposed to feel that way. You can feel token and like you’re having to present all black people and it’s assumed you’re going to know what all black people are thinking. If you know the value of diversity and yourself you can drive change.’

somewhereto_ has a growing portfolio of handpicked,  amazing spaces      available for businesses to hire across London. They have the best meeting rooms, creative working spaces, galleries, party spots and much more.  Every time a business books one of their unique spaces it enables young people to  access space for free.
somewhereto_ is on a mission to provide young Londoners with free space to pursue their creative projects, remain in the city, and keep London creative.

Check out their  handpicked venues.

June 14, 2016

somewhereto_ interview Livity’s ECD Callum McGeoch

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Livity’s Executive Creative Director Callum McGeoch has had a varied career. He studied Marine Biology at University, stumbled into music management and ended up in journalism, all before heading up Livity’s creative output. We’ve been catching up with him about creative development and the importance of stimulating spaces.

How did you go from Marine Biology to creativity?

It was a toss up to apply for English or Marine Biology when I was deciding what to study at University. However I knew early on that I wasn’t built to be a scientist. You have to remain incredibly focused on one subject for years at a time. I had a short attention span and broad interests. I was more interested in communicating things that I found interesting, rather than unearthing new science.

After graduating and moving back to London I could see my future life working in a bank and thought ‘hell no’. So I walked into Long Haul recording studio and asked for some work experience. A couple weeks later they offered me a job in music management, which I absolutely hated.

A year later I quit my job to do a one week work placement at the Independent. A combination of positive attitude, some ability and a lot of luck I managed to land a five month freelance contract, covering maternity leave. So I became a journalist, writing about anything from hair brushes to underpants. I was a journalist for ten years and eventually became an Editor for Dazed and Confused.

The worlds of publishing and marketing were beginning to converge at that point. I was getting paid as an editor but I was doing a lot of brand marketing, coming up with ideas for articles, events, tours, and very early digital campaigns. I decided I would prefer to be creative in marketing and write on the side rather than being a journalist doing marketing. I was mentoring at Live magazine at the time which is where I got introduced to the great work Livity does, so I joined.

The reasons I have dedicated my life to Livity is that I went to a privileged school, grew up in a upper middle class family in London and had the ability to work for almost nothing for about two years. I had the ability to swan around and interview rappers. I think I have benefitted from a completely unfair system. Livity challenges this system.

As a creative what is the relationship between space and your practice?

As a writer a conceptual creative space isn’t really a physical commodity. It’s a headspace. It’s a combination of stimulation and peace and quiet.

By stimulating environment, I mean things like the streets, cultural institutes and colourful characters in the market or a park.

Peacefulness is more about solidarity, a quiet place with no distraction. For me this is normally three o’clock in the morning, but it could easily be a little quiet room with not too many distractions, or a library.

Having a creatively rich world is about it’s cultural diversity, economic diversity and having people from all walks of life and different backgrounds in one space. It’s imperative to allow young artists, students and makers to be able to exist to ensure our environment doesn’t become stale, sterile or oversaturated with corporate companies. That’s why London is the arguably the most creative city in the world. You only have to spend an afternoon in Zurich or Brussels to see that their lack of diversity results in a lack of creatively interesting areas. The cities become devoid of inspiration or ideas.

If there are no spaces to access, areas become ghettoised and the stimulation and inspiration dries up. So while I don’t often need space, I do need to live in an area where hungry young creative people can do interesting things.

What do you think the impact of spaces in London being closed down or becoming unaffordable has had on the London’s creative scene?

I’m not overly gloomy about it because these things go in cycles. Also art and creativity often emerge out of deprivation.

Creatives are getting squeezed out of the city. In the 60’s the most creative part of London was Chelsea and now that area is completely devoid of creativity. Now you’ll find the interesting, young, innovative and creative people are in Deptford and Haggerston, creating mini creative ghettos.

The current crisis is the residentialisation of London. The centre of London is filling up with empty flats. These investment will at some point need to be sold or rented out, which is when they’ll realise that by killing the street life they have damaged their return. Something will have to happen to convince people to come back to these areas, which I’m sure somewhereto_ can play a role in.

Do you think there is a solution to counteract these problems?

There will have to be some government intervention at some point. Something along the lines of implementing major tax hikes for unoccupied spaces in the centre of London. Inducing a new landscape for property guardianship and a rejuvenation of youth activity.

An increase in squatting and illegal raves would help… and be fun. We’d have to re-position squatting as an act of creating value rather than being viewed as crusty decadence. Some of the most creative times in modern history have been driven by squats. Berlin in the 80’s, New York in the 70’s. The city needs to declare itself open to young creative talent from around the world.

Learn more about London’s Creative crisis here. You can sign up to support the somewhereto_ campaign here.

May 23, 2016

My Time at Livity

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If London had a capital it would be Brixton and Livity is the heart of Brixton. It is a prodigious and innovative marketing agency, aligned with its fun, vibrant, creative, hard-working environment and chill out vibe. It is the womb for inspiration by the minute.

During my work experience I became a sponge, absorbing all the vital information that I needed, to help me understand the true essence of what a marketing agency consists of. How all the functional departments co-exist and how they work together to form the reputable marketing agency we know and admire.

My first day was an eye opener and an alluring experience. It gave life to a feeling of motivation and inspiration; a feeling I had been earnestly searching for and so badly prayed to feel again.

Once entering the beautifully modern decorated office I was greeted with smiles and polite welcomes. You could instantly feel the family orientated environment and sanctuary of creativity. As I gazed the room with anticipation, I noticed the Marylyn Monroe pop arts strategically hung on the white wall. To me this signified diversity and creativity in a nutshell.

Shortly after, I was invited to the weekly company meeting, which consisted of the whole team. It was in this micro moment; I was amazed by the innovative PowerPoint presentation designed by the Creative and Strategy team. Not only was it engaging due to the content, the pitch that was being presented was enthusiastic and held my attention.

I was impressed to know that Livity was working with elite clients such as Google, Barclays, TOPMAN, Channel 4 and Public Health England and this was occurring right here in Brixton. How amazing!

Livity is the cornerstone for youth centred design and this was illustrated through their continuous work portfolio. It brought emphasis to the fact, that young people do have a voice and intelligence.

A twitter quote that comes to mind is: “ You’re never too old to listen. You’re never too young to learn” @Sheis1stlady

Over the past week, I had the opportunity to work within each functional team, commencing at Account Handling, Strategy, Creative, Production, Somewhereto_ and New Business. Within each department, I was given a brief/task to complete. Once completed, I would receive constructive feedback on my performance. I valued this as it helped strengthen my skills and aided my development, which will enable me to become more employable.

One of the tasks I enjoyed was working with the Production team, where I was able to watch the OFF Road episodes, which were hilarious. I brainstormed with the team to find new formats for their new projects. Another task I loved, was working with somwhereto_ where I was able to write a creative article for their website.

After graduating university with a 2:1, I swam in the pool of unemployment for a while until I found a retail job. Although I was grateful for my employment, I felt disheartened, as it wasn’t in my desired field or close to it. Myself and other graduates felt lost after university. Trying to find a job was difficult, but trying to find a marketing job in a saturated industry, felt almost impossible. You are stuck with the question, where do I go next?

Livity gives opportunities to graduates and young people so that they can gain experience and apply for their desired job positions. As you find in the job market, a degree is not enough. You need concrete experience of about 1-2 years for a recent graduate. This is the catch 22 so to speak, as a graduate needs a job in order to get the work experience. Sadly this is what many of my peers face.

I would like to thank the Livity team for the opportunity. If you are a recent graduate and are looking to gain valuable work experience in your desired field, whether it is an internship, voluntary work or paid job position. Contact Livity marketing agency, send in your CV and take the first fruitful step towards your career.

April 15, 2016

Livity Presents Centre of Attention

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I’ve been diving deep into the fascinating behavioural psychology, tech innovations and social mechanisms that underpin attention, curation, trust and influence in 2016. The idea is to try and decode and demystify why, what we do – creatively enabling and empowering young people to influence and inspire each other – works so well.
We’ve also been snorkelling through the murky waters of social influencer marketing to try and shine a light on the potential pitfalls and pots of gold that this nascent sub-industry presents as it continues on its inevitable rise over the next few years. And, as is the Livity way, we’ve been involving smart, engaged young people in this exploratory process throughout. Sure enough they have pinpointed important subtleties, examples and explanations that no professional marketers or seasoned vox-poppers would have chanced upon in a thousand focus groups or data analytic reports.

We have also been looking at some of our own social channels for clues and case studies that illustrate the complexities of growing audience, earning attention and activating influence.
One of the top 5 most ‘influential’ tweets from our main agency twitter account, @livityuk according to social measurement tool Klear, was this piece of praise for an initiative by cobblers and key cutters Timpson, giving job seekers free dry cleaning for interview outfits. As brands continue to deliberate over whether to invest long term in growing their own reach and influence, versus leveraging the influence of others, it is a timely reminder that inspiring (not paying) other people to praise you will always be more powerful than singing your own praises. Timpson did a brilliant thing, but then rather than shout about it themselves, they made the act visible in an authentic, unobtrusive way, and ended up with thousands of tweets, coverage in dozens of papers and the BBC; trust-building, brand-building influence that money literally cannot buy.

As a piece of social content, it also illustrates the value of really understanding what your audience is interested in and where they perceive your authority as a voice of influence lies.

Because of who we are and what we do as a youth agency with a soul (as someone once described us), that strives to gets brands to help young people and young people to help brands, Livity’s influence spans across areas of youth, communication and social purpose, and our 11k followers are a mix of young people and those that want to understand and influence them. Sharing stories about things you love, that you believe your followers and friends will love, perfectly illustrates an insight that a young person explained to us recently, that at its best social sharing is a form of gifting, an act of caring, of friendship, even of love and that each little act of love will win love in return.

April 7, 2016

3 months, 300 young people, a Harvard acceptance, and one man in space.

 

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At the start of 2016, and following the programme’s continued success in South Africa, we kicked off the UK pilot for Digify – a two month, fully paid digital skills incubator at Livity, for young people from diverse backgrounds looking to break in to the creative marketing industry.

And my word, what a few months it’s been! Ten Digifiers lending their energy, enthusiasm, and expertise to Livity’s work and the wider industry, are now four weeks into their 6 month internships with top agencies: Iris, DigitasLBi, Engine, and Jack Morton to name just a few.

The Livity family grows and grows – in the first 3 months of the year, we’ve welcomed over 300 young people into our Brixton space to rehearse, apply, work, book space, get mentorship, experience, and advice. We’ve even revamped one of our meeting rooms, with Paint Livity’s winner Reece Thompson adorning our walls.

As a talent transformation engine, our aim is to have the greatest impact on young people in the UK and abroad as humanly possible. Our young people continue to amaze us – some returning to education and full-time employment, some completing training programmes and internships, and many many more pushing themselves just that little bit further in the knowledge that Livity’s love surrounds and supports them.

Two stories from 2016 so far that we’d be amiss to mention, come from Livity alumni Yara Shaikh and Hussain Manawer:

At age 14 Yara started as a contributor to Live Magazine where she grew her interest in humanitarian work and diplomacy. This year Yara was not only accepted into Harvard, but also met Michelle Obama!

Hussain, a spoken world poet and mental health advocate, started as a contributor to Live Magazine at Livity – and will be the first British Muslim to go into space in 2018, after winning a competition at the One Young World Summit!

If you’d like to get involved with changing lives, please email hello@livity.co.uk.

April 4, 2016

Why humanism continues to dominate the world’s biggest tech conference

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For the fourth year in a row I was lucky enough to attend SXSW in Austin last month. Despite going in with a certain set of expectations, every single year it manages to blow my mind. It’s incredibly hard to describe it if you haven’t been, as it sits somewhere in the large chasm between Burning Man, TED and Glastonbury. SXSW is an eclectic pot of inspiring thinkers from all around the world, all seeking inspiration and insight that will challenge their understanding.

It can be very hard to pull out macro themes from the event because it is so sprawling. Tens of thousands of people flock to the city for one week, all with different agendas and areas of expertise. Every talk you’re in, you’re listening to someone at the pinnacle of their field, and it can be incredibly hard to choose where to direct your efforts.

The key theme I took from this year is one that has been growing more and more since I first attended in 2013. Even though it was only a few years ago our attitude towards technology has matured an incredible amount since then.

In 2013 SXSW was filled with blind optimism, with every speaker listing off all the amazing possibilities of where tech could take us (epitomised by Elon Musk was telling us how we were going to colonise Mars in the near future). However, the year after there was a cataclysmic change in tone, as Edward Snowden, Julian Assange and Glenn Greenwald took up the Keynote slots and privacy left a dark shadow over the festival. Suddenly the rose tinted glasses were removed and we had to confront some really tough questions – not ‘What can we do with technology?’, but ‘What should we do with technology?’

It feels like we’re still living in the wake of 2014 to a certain extent, as that blind optimism is no longer present at SXSW. In its absence a new theme has risen – humanising technology. In a world that changes this rapidly anything can happen, and that can lead us down some very dark paths if we’re not careful. In 2015 an answer was suggested and this year it was unanimously accepted – if we are to thrive (or even survive) in the future, we need to make sure we don’t lose the human touch in our relationship with technology.

This was present everywhere you went. Big data and AI were both big topics this year, but this year they took a different angle. In the past they have been full of case studies from Intel and the like, showing the amazing possibilities of these technologies. However, this year the focus was much more on how to combine machine learning with a human touch – Facebook spoke about this extensively with their new AI customer assistant, M, which uses a combination of the two to ensure they are able to deliver a personal touch but at a large scale.

Big data and Al were core themes in a lot of the talks, the one I found most inspiring at the event was by Brian Wong (the founder of Kiip) talking about connected moments and the future of the internet of things. He spoke about how the internet of things is going to open up a far wider range of ‘moments’ in people’s lives where brands can communicate, and the key is going to be ensuring that we use them in a positive way. We have a responsibility to ensure they are contextually relevant and a positive addition to someone’s experience, because otherwise we are only going to alienate our customers.

The humanising tech theme was confronted very directly by Hiroshi Ishiguro also, who showcased the robot version of himself having a real-time conversation in multiple languages in front of a live audience. He gave the audience a very interesting provocation – since SXSW had only invited him to speak about the robot, his identity is defined by the robot. When they both have the same name, look the same, and have the same personality, who does that identity belong to? His assertion was that identity is not only malleable but transferrable, and that in a world of robots and AI we are going to need to accept that we may not own exclusive rights to our own identities.

Kevin Kelly, the founding editor of Wired, shared his 12 inevitable tech forces that will shape our future. While this covered a lot of topics that had been discussed at length elsewhere (VR, AR, AI, big data, etc), it did in a nuanced way that explored the personal and societal implications of his claims. One of the more interesting topics he tackled was the balance between privacy and personalisation, and how directly we are going to have to confront it moving forwards (due to the meteoric rise of sensor technology, data capture and the quantified self). He says that while he thinks we won’t be able to stop the inevitable rise of tracking, we need to ensure there is transparency, accountability and a real value exchange, and ultimately we will end up in a more positive place than dystopian fiction would imply.

Anyone playing a role in defining the world of tomorrow needs to have humanism front of mind, and not let it take a back seat to technological possibility. We are already designing our future, and we need to design the world we want to live in.

February 22, 2016

Why I Think We Should All Be Vloggers

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Vloggers – a term that once could describe the niche community of people who video blog their everyday lives online. Now the word can be applied to describe the group of high profile, young successful entrepreneurs that are making movements around the world, as social influencers. If you’re familiar with YouTube, names of online stars like Zoella, Jenna Marbles and PewDiePie should ring a bell to you.

The topic of Vloggers is a hard one to ignore; no longer limited to social media, some of the most popular ones have spread out into the real world and entered the film industry breaking pre-sale records for 2015. Some have sold out arenas with their contributions to the comedy and music business and others even have waxwork model replicas that sit amongst the legends of our times at Madam Tussauds!

Over the weekend I watched BBC Three’s ‘The Rise of the Superstar Vloggers’ documentary, where Jim Chapman, a UK YouTuber with over 2 million subscribers interviewed other Vloggers about why they think they had gained so much success online. One quote from the programme that stood out to me in particular came from Youtuber KSI:
“I work every single day just to try to expand my brand”
With 11 million subscribers and placed No.4 on the Forbes list of The World’s Top-Earning YouTube Stars – KSI may have the key to success here!

As a digital marketing trainee here at Livity, the topic of personal branding is frequently discussed. As part of the Digify programme I have taken part in several sessions to determine exactly what my personal and professional brand should be. Similarly, with my group of Digifiers we have worked on defining our online brand for our Instagram and Twitter channels. Our brand is the diversity of our backgrounds and the unique insights that we can bring to the industry based on this. Just like KSI, each day we work on that by training and increasing our knowledge of the industry, thus expanding our brand.

Working at a youth marketing agency, Vloggers are often talked about because of their outreach to the age groups that we target; this is because Youtubers are capable of influencing mass audiences in the same way as traditional celebrities.

There has been a lot of discussion about the relationship between young people and social media; more recently, the negative effects a young person can experience as a social influencer interests me because of my own personal experience.

In 2009, at the age of 16 I decided to become a Vlogger when I first discovered the small beauty/make-up tutorial community on YouTube. After I had uploaded a video I would enjoy looking through the YouTube Analytics information to see where around the world I was being viewed. As my viewer numbers increased so did my confidence in filming and I continued to post more videos. However, explaining the concept of filming myself and uploading it to the internet seemed a bizarre thing to tell people during a time where it wasn’t a common thing to do. I never openly discussed what I was taking part in with my friends, so it developed in to some kind of a secret.

After a while it dawned on me as a teenager, how embarrassing it would be if people from my college watched my videos. When I noticed an increase in my London viewers, my paranoia and anxiety increased over what the outcome would be if people I actually knew in real life were watching my videos. Strangely, although I was willingly broadcasting myself to the world, I also liked the thought of being anonymous. In the end I deleted everything from my channel and continued as a consumer of YouTube.

Now aged 23, I still watch a lot of YouTube videos, a lot more than I realised! (I am currently subscribed to 110 channels), and have witnessed many Youtubers that started with a small amount of views, gain over a million views and have a strong influence over their following on other social media outlets such as, Instagram and Twitter.

So as a Digifier or a Marketeer, our online influence should mean more than what is written on our CV’s. By making our lives more transparent on social media, we are marketing our personal brands to our followers and the success we gain in promoting our online profile should reflect on our capabilities as marketing professionals. The future of Vlogging is certain to increase in popularity because of apps like Vine and Snapchat, as well as broadcasting apps like Periscope, so perhaps you should consider Vlogging your next career move and be the influencer of your own networks.

 

 

Nicole Taylor, Digifier, 18.02.16

January 26, 2016

An all white Oscars will be a thing of the past…

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An all white Oscars will be a thing of the past…

The fact the lack of ethnicity has received more media attention and conversations this year than the previous, could be seen as a step, but steps don’t sit on shelves and validate successes, so I guess nobody wants to hear that. Last weeks news that not a single actor or actress of ethnicity, received a nomination at this years Oscars, leaves me feeling impatiently frustrated and with an urge to want to do something. Especially seen as both ‘Beast of no Nation’ and ‘Straight Outta Compton’ moved me to tears (and I can’t be the only one) through the great acting of black actors! The urge in this case however, is slowly washed over by thoughts of my own insignificance.

To be honest, my insignificance may be true in terms of single handily changing this weeks shiny pinnacle of success for actors and actresses. However, as I give it a second thought here at work, I don’t feel discouraged. This is my third week as part of Digify at Livity. Working with everyone here, as well as the senior level professionals from companies such as Google (ever heard of them?) and the Marketing Agencies Association (they’re amazing), I don’t feel frustrated in the slightest. In fact I feel very, very, excited and motivated! To us Digifier’s it’s obvious; diversity allows for the very best creative work to be produced, as through it, you gain an increased amount of varying cultural values, attitudes and life experiences. Which will reflect in audience reach and engagement.

To be around so many people who know this isn’t rocket science is motivating. To see the need for a more diverse creative industry pushed naturally from a business perspective and not only one of equality, is refreshing. So there are a lot of things rapidly changing, and from being here I see that those part of it and around it are loving the success. This can get clouded while I read the news of the Oscars, but it’s also the reason why I believe it’s gained particularly more media attention this year in the UK.

Being here everyday, working with the other Digifier’s, doesn’t make me feel worried or anxious at all about un-diverse workplaces or absence of recognition for future creative work. It’s no Oscars, but it allows me to see more clearly than ever before that things are happily shifting in the creative industries, and inspires me to pass it on, wait and watch, honestly I don’t think its too long before it reaches the deciding board of the Oscars too.

An all white Oscars will be a thing of the past.

 

Hannah Owens, Digifier, 26.01.16 

December 16, 2015

#KidsPrivacy matters. Here’s why

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There’s something afoot, sneaking in on the wave, fatigue and distraction that is December and a looming Christmas break. Last week European Union officials proposed new laws to increase the age of consent relating to data protection laws. Whilst the topic is one that has been under debate for sometime, there has been a quiet, last minute amendment to the age of consent, from 13 to 16. It would mean that millions of teenagers under 16 would be forced to secure permission from their parents or guardians whenever signing up to a social media account, downloading an app, writing a blog and even using search engines.

Read More…

December 14, 2015

Paint Livity

IMG_9166Paint Livity is a competition that offered a career defining opportunity to an emerging artist, inviting them to reimagine the walls of Livity.

The winner, Reece Thompson was awarded £500, mentored by renowned graffiti artist Josh Stika, and received 50 A3 prints to sell.

The 8  runners up were handpicked by Livity, and shortlisted from a long list of submissions. The runners up were: Corey Cummings, Sophia Pistofidou, Ed Moreton, Rachael Reed, Samme Snow, Rafail Kokkinos, Clara Baccau and Jake Attewell. All had the opportunity to showcase their work in an exhibition at Livity.

The winner, Reece Thompson, gave us a few words about the meaning behind his mural.

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