What scotch whisky character would you take to a party?

Shortly, I’ll be launching myself into the whisky industry.  My blog will be taking a new direction and whisky will be making a big appearance, alongside communications chat.

I’ve recently been immersing myself in the land of whisky, with an aim to learn and understand as much as I can about this magical potion. There are loads of expert whisky blogs out there, but I haven’t come across many that cater for the beginner…

Join me on my newbie adventures, what I’ll learn, and the places I go to find out all about Scotland’s famous tipple.

If you’re a novice to whisky and need to find a starting point…

The Scotch whisky experience (Edinburgh)

…is a good place to start!!

http://www.scotchwhiskyexperience.co.uk

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It’s located on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, a stone throw away from Edinburgh Castle.

The tour begins with a barrel ride taking you through the whisky making process (I’ll cover more of this on distillery visits).

Afterwards, you are invited into a room for a sensory experience to learn about the Scotch whisky regions. The scratch and sniff cards help define the characteristics of each area…  They also act as a teaser before the taster session.

 

It’s good to start with scotch whisky in the different regions.

 Scotch whisky characters 

I like to think of the different regions as whisky characters at a party.  They are all different and each bring something to the table. It’s a great way to remember them and also makes it more fun!!

What type of whisky characters would you take to a party?

 

 

  • Highland:  Spicy and full bodied in the north.  Light and fruity in the South. Honey, caramel, vanilla, floral finish  
  • Speyside:  Sweet aromas and rich flavours. Known for it’s sherry casks, particularly the Macallan. Sweeeeeet!    Toffee, floral notes, apple, pear, honey, grassy
  • Islay: Peated and strong flavoured whisky. There are many layers to an Islay malt, very complex, very peaty, very smoky!!
  • Lowland:  Light bodied and mild.  Grassy notes, ginger, honeysuckle
  • Campbeltown: Peaty, salty, fruity, vanilla, smoky 

My verdict:  Who would I bring to a party?  Speyside!  All about the quality, rich and sweet. Let’s face it… he’s pretty cool as well 🙂

Although, just like the Highland character… sometimes it can depend on your own mood!

 

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What to do when setting up a social enterprise

On Friday, I attended my last Big Lottery event… ever!  Strive (a support network for social enterprises in East Lothian) held their quarterly network meeting. I couldn’t think of a better event to bring my Big Lottery outreach adventures to an end.

The network is full of inspiring social entrepreneurs looking to make a difference. It’s one of the most enthusiastic, supportive and positive member networks I’ve came across.

Setting up a social enterprise is a marvelous concept.  Passionate people who want to give back and do good tend to go down this route.  Social enterprises operate as a business.  However, any profits made are reinvested back into the organisation to support the people/communities they are helping.

Epic social enterprise example:

Social Bite- http://www.social-bite.co.uk

Support networks 

If you’re thinking of setting up a social enterprise, there are many organisations out there to support you. Here’s a few to get you started

http://www.strive.me.uk/about/ (East Lothian)

http://www.the-sse.org/schools/scotland/ (Scotland wide)

http://www.socialenterprisescotland.org.uk (Scotland wide)

http://www.firstport.org.uk (Scotland wide)

http://www.entrepreneurial-spark.com (apply to take part in a start up business programme)

https://fsen.squarespace.com/support-organisations/ (Scotland wide)

Funding

You can apply to Awards For All for start up costs, which includes running costs for the first year of your organisation:

http://www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/awardsforallscotland

Firstport also provide funding opportunities along with advice and business support:

http://www.firstport.org.uk

Funding Scotland offers an array of funding opportunities in Scotland:

http://www.fundingscotland.com

It can be a lonely and isolating process when you start a business.  Get yourself connected, both on and offline, and make sure you surround yourself with people who will always support you.

Happy social enterprising!

What’s holding you back in life? 


I had the pleasure of welcoming William Cassels to Glasgow Toastmasters this week.

Bill left Scotland in 1956 to live in Canada. At the time he had a really bad speech impediment and could only communicate by writing notes on scrap bits of paper.

In 1974, Bill brought his impediment under control by joining Toastmasters. Since then he has spoken in 3 countries, 5 states in the USA, 5 Provinces in Canada, given 1 sermon and performed on 3 cruise ships including the latest Queen Elizabeth.

Bill said, “We have no idea what we can do until we leave our comfort zone.” What a perfect example!

Toastmasters helps people become better speakers and better leaders and operates in 142 countries- with over 16,000 clubs worldwide!

The people you meet, experiences you’ll gain and the opportunities available are endless. It all starts with your first visit. Pop along to a club near you and give it a try!
Give me a shout if you have any questions.

Jumping on the ‘social media awareness day’ bandwagon

You will have noticed a lot of organisations are using awareness days within their social media content.

It’s the most vanilla and unimaginative thing you can do for your organisations social media activity. Why? Let me give you three main reasons:

1) There are too many bland and unusual awareness days now. Here’s a few… World Towel Day, National Television Day, World Password Day… that’s all I can give you my brain switched off when I was looking through the list and I started feeling disorientated and lost.
Here’s more if you have time to procrastinate:

blog.hootsuite.com/weird-holidays-to-celebrate-on-social-media/

2) It’s unimaginative and boring – Organisations are jumping on the social media awareness day bandwagon to find any mediocre link with their organisation. For example ‘National Chocolate Day’… “to celebrate why not treat yourself to a bar of our delicious chocolate’. Yawn! Really? Everyday is a chocolate day for me!

3) It is becoming far too common. Organisations see it as an attempt to join what’s trending on the day. It’s not a good look.
I always think it acts like a fall back plan for people who haven’t thought about creating content that adds value.

If you are going to link into awareness days- make sure you are offering something of value or something different. Don’t just follow the sheep and say something for the sake of it. Make it unique/ witty/ clever or totally unexpected. When you surprise people with different and interesting content they will warm to your organisation and their expectations will increase.

 

Social media is so fast moving

On a similar note- it reminds me of ‘The Mannequin challenge’.

This was fun and different… at the beginning! The Hilary Clinton Election Day is the first one I came across at the time. Loved it!

Then days went on and the novelty wore off but organisations continued to try it out weeks and months later. Too late! It’s like talking to someone for half an hour and listening to them regurgitate the same point over and over. Nobody wants or needs to hear it.
If you’re going to jump on what’s trending- Change and adapt it! Evolve the original idea and make it your own…

How to get out of your social media rut

Some groups think to stay ahead of the game they constantly need to schedule daily content to engage and encourage their followers. This is all very well if you have interesting and engaging content to run with…

However if you find yourself searching for anything so you can just tweet/post for the sake of it. Wrong move!

dugOne way to tell is how long you ponder over a tweet. If you’re still sitting there 5 minutes later. Ding ding ding.. That’s your warning sign!

Giving into the pressure of pushing out similar daily content not only creates bland tweets/posts but it also weakens the interest of your followers. ,

 

Top Tips

Here are a few suggestions you can take to prevent falling into the trap of bland daily predictable posts:

1) The more the merrier… the more volunteers/ employees that have access to your socialhands media accounts, the more creative and interesting tweets you will get.

If you want to monitor who tweets what, (especially if you start engaging with people) ask those involved to include their name or initials at the end of a tweet. You may still have one person who coordinates and manages your networks. Just don’t restrict your social media activity to one person.

 

2) Learn something new… even in your spare time! If you love social media as much as you think you do. You will go out your way to learn new skills. There is so much out there, the internet has everything you need to know… whether you want to start creating videos, podcasts, imagery or music. Skills are transferable, you might not realise at the time. But when you’re blessed with a spark of inspiration, you will have the skills to draw upon. Be creative and test things out.

3) Connect with similar people/groups not just in internet land but in real life.  Inspiration doesn’t just come from searching on the internet. If you’re working in a charity/volunteering for a group- go out your way to make real connections. You will be amazed how much inspiration you get just by making a little effort.

 

4) Don’t overthink! Social media is real! Keep it natural. Go with the flow, sometimes intuition makes an appearance and you know the right thing to say in a given moment. Tweets like these will be more authentic and appealing.

 

funny monkey5) Be silly! We all want a bit of fun on social media. When scrolling through your updates… what grabs your attention first? An amusing monkey image or a bland organisational update?

Obviously there is a balance. Just don’t take things too seriously on your networks all the time.  If you want to capture your audience, experiment every now and again…take risks!

 

 

 

There are no rules! You aren’t expected to update when there is nothing to say. Take the pressure off. Keep it real:)

Don’t Go There.. #LiveThere

Airbnb have recently launched their latest campaign #LiveThere

The Airbnb CMO Jonathan Mildenhall aims to capture the essence of not visiting a place as a tourist but living there as a local (even if it’s just for one night). The company are digging deep into insight of the locals within places to visit. Airbnb’s app has updated features which include guidebooks from locals themselves.

airbnb1This not only separates the company from their competitors but it also offers potential customers that little bit more- experiencing the true feel for the city from the people who actually live there.  Find out more on their website.

Airbnb are very switched on when it comes to social media and recognise the importance of it when connecting with their customers. They cleverly focus their efforts on the appropriate social media platforms to use for their audience and take a personal approach when engaging with customers on Facebook or Twitter. Furthermore Airbnb ensure a range of teams within the company are clued up on social media. In doing this all teams, whether it is sales, customer service or operations, can truly understand customers needs from their own work skill set. Therefore integrating social media across the organisation which improves the overall connection with the companies audience.

‘Think global, Act local’…  this is a strong message for Airbnb’s external audience but the airbnb 2same applies internally in order to ensure they really understand their audiences needs.

Social media is not just a tool- it’s a way of working and used effectively can improve your connections with your audiences and transform your organisations overall goals.