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DirectGov – Government Services and Gay Porn all in one place

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(This Blog first appeared on where Gordon is a regular contributor, and again as an article in the Drum Magazine.

(Update from Gordon) – Within a few hours of this blog being posted DirectGov took the site down – see their full response in the comments section below.

(Update number 2 from Gordon) – 8 days after the story broke DirectGov complaints department have responded to the online contact form I filled in before posting this blog to say “Dear GMK –  We have seen the item. Our press office have issued the following statement:” the next bit was just the same statement as posted on this blog comments section previously. Clearly one part of DirectGov doesn’t know what another part is doing and this also proves that if you want something done don’t complain write a blog!

You must have seen those hideously expensive adverts on TV for with the big celebs like, well you know, her that used to advertise the sky digital box with Bruce Forsythe and well you know other celebs!

Well the website of the UK government has had a big budget, a big launch and a big campaign aimed at getting people to visit the site but they have also made a huge cock-up (oh maybe that’s an unfortunate choice of words).

The site even has a kids section and to make it more kiddie friendly they have called it “Busters World” complete with an image of a friendly dog (presumably called Buster) who is wearing a sheriffs badge (nice bit of trust imagery).  The site describes itself “DirectgovKids helps you find out about the world around you. We have loads of fun games, exciting videos and cartoons and much more!” Have a look:

directgov kids

OK what is so wrong about that – well let me tell you it is very, very, very wrong!  In a spectacular piece of poor brand naming strategy which must have included no research whatsoever Busters World is also the name of a fetish gay porn site (I am not making this up honestly).

Imagine this, little Johnny learns about the site at school under the supervision of his teacher and comes home and tells mommy all about the fun new website Busters World and asks if he can go on it. Of course he can, now Johnny can’t remember the domain name and types Busters World into Google and the first site listed is probably not what he expected but there is a big balloon on the front page so it’s obviously for kids right?

busters warning page

When you click on the “I agree to these terms” button (which I only did for research purposes) you land at a very friendly welcome page where men with fashionable facial hair are having fun with balloons (and what child doesn’t like balloons?).

busters porn page

The Power of Twitter – I found out less than an hour ago via twitter, Falkirk based @More4Mums the online discount maternity clothing store who tweeted.

“My 6yr old tells me she was on Busters World at school – Googled to have a look OMG !!! Real link here” And then later “How can someone be so stupid as to name the kids portal on directgov “Buster’s world”??? Internet safety anyone??  A few direct messages later and I have to say I share her indignation.

Ok lets pause for a few minutes … have you stopped laughing?  It took me a while but when the initial madness of this situation sinks in you will realise that the organisation ultimately responsible for child safety legislation in the UK has made a web, branding and child safety blunder of epic proportions.  Little Johnny will be damaged for life and may even end up becoming a politician!

The site NEEDS to be renamed now and given that the Drum community includes some of the leading branding experts from around the world lets be proactive and come up with some suggestions for a new name.  A packet of Smarties for each of the best three suggestions and we will pass it on to DirectGov.

So leave a comment and let me know what you think of this terrible situation (hint) and what your suggestion for the new name for the site.

Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp

Intelligise – Be Brilliant


Social Media is Dead

(This Blog first appeared on where Gordon is a regular contributor, and again as the lead article in the February edition in the Drum Magazine)

It’s time to kill off the term “social media”.  It’s boring – it’s last years “big idea”.  Whilst we are at it it’s time to kill off the self appointed social media gurus, Twitter kings, Linked-in gods and Facebook queens, (although admittedly not all Facebook queens are selling social media consultancy!)  As far as I am concerned the word Guru denotes a level of expertise that you just can’t claim to have in an emerging field.

Every few years there is a small improvement in communications technology and someone with an eye for the main chance coins a term and tags the word “revolution” on the end and we have a bona-fide craze on our hands.  This time round the consultants, without any trading history or track record, have come out of the woodwork chanting “social media, social media, you gotta have social media”. Normally serious business people started uploading silly pictures on their Twitter pages and Tweeting inane updates like “oops put 2 much milk in my #morningtea LOL #fail, Please Retweet” and “@duncanbannantyne please ask your followers to follow me”.  Then to cap it all you get a linked-in invitation from someone you met at a conference in Birmingham ten years ago asking you to be one of his valued contacts.

Don’t get me wrong I love Twitter, Linked-in and my blog they are ALL indispensible to my marketing efforts.  What we need to do is clear away the social media BS that’s blinding people to the obvious truth that social media tools are just a new way to manage conversations to engage clients – its not rocket science – its for everybody.

We have seen this sort unhelpful hysteria before: remember the boom?  I spent the late 90s and early noughties evangelising about online community and facilitating discussion groups and online B2B networking, we called it “online conversation” or “online community” (if only I had known about the revolution thing).  As Shirley Bassey once said “it’s all just a little piece of history repeating”.

People are busy predicting a video revolution, a geo-location revolution, a mobile commuting revolution but if there is one thing you can say for certain about communication technology it is that next week there will be something new – its evolution and not revolution!

Why does the nomenclature matter?  Well revolution is a scary word and add to that lots of consultants claiming Guru status and people think that the tools are complex and difficult to use when they are not.  Most social media training seems to delve no deeper than how to set up a Facebook page or a Twitter account (the stuff that you can learn by reading the PDF guides available from thousands of web sites) and this is counter productive.  The gurus are trying to build a social media silo with access granted to those capable of over excitable hyperbole but its not rocket science – its just a new set of conversation tools.

Most of the people who read Drum blogs work in Marketing, Design, PR and Digital Marketing agencies etc and if the cocktail of social media tools are to become universally useful to businesses then you are the people who can make it happen.  If this latest communication evolution is indeed to generate revolutionary results for business (sorry hyperbolic slip) we have to destroy the silos by doing the hard work of strategically blending the benefits of the new social media engagement tools with each of our specialist marketing offerings.  Only when we have done this can sociability become the default behaviour setting and client engagement can take its rightful place in the marketing tool box alongside PR, advertising, sales, design and brand management et al.

I have just set up a new company and I struggled for a long time with the decision as to whether to start a separate social media consultancy or to keep my social media advice as part of my business development practice, you won’t be surprised that I decided on the latter.  On this blog I want to start a conversation about practical social media marketing and networking, not a load of “hyperbolic guru speak” but plenty of down and dirty, sleeves rolled up ways to use the emerging online conversation toolset to generate return on engagement for ourselves and our clients.

Maybe one day we will be able to say “Social Media BS is dead – long live Social Media Conversation.

Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp

Intelligise – Be Brilliant

Collect followers for vanity – Collect relationships for value

Collect followers for vanity – collect relationships for value – share something of value and build your relationships!

To me social media is a set of great networking tools, that you can use to enhance your networking and NOT a replacement for networking.  I use this WordPress blog, Twitter and Linked-in not to collect followers, friends, and connections but to enhance the relationships I have with people within my network.

I accept it is hard not to get caught up in the social media game of “who has the most followers” on Twitter, “the most contacts” on Linked-in or “friends” on Facebook, especially when you see a competitor has a few thousand more than you.  However for professionals it is not the number of contacts you have but the value of your relationships with your contacts that is your key performance indicator (KPI).

How I use my three main Social Media Channels.

  1. Like most people, I asked my best contacts to connect on Linked-in and the key word is “connect”!  So many people build a list of 200+ connections on Linked-in and think that is their network built, its not, it is your social networking database populated with targets.
  • By regularly changing my updates I make sure that my contacts know what I am doing and I read their updates and send congratulations and comments as appropriate.
  • Most importantly though I regularly make time to network and see my contacts face to face.  Every month I select a group of about 25 of my contacts whom I think would like to meet one another and I invite them to meet me for a speakeasy.  On average 16-20 attend and people say they are the best networking events they get invited to.  No speakers, no presentations just me in a bar mixing up my contacts and engaging them on a deeper level.
  • Because I am social people reciprocate and when I get invited to someone’s networking event I ask “is there room for me to bring along one of my clients?” This way my contact gets a new high value contact at their event and my client gets a free seminar and well everyone is happy.  Its not clever its just networking!
  1. Blog – I like to share my insights on selling, networking and social media every week and every blog is promoted via my Linked-in updates, on the Linked-in profile itself and via Twitter.  Every client I have read my blog before becoming a client and this is working so well for me that next month I am investing in a major new (best practice) blogging platform that will host not only this blogs but those of my best practice partners and guest bloggers as well.
  • As a result of the cross referencing a lot of people who view my Linked-in profile also read my blog and this willingness to share my expertise has changed the dynamic of all of my recent sales presentations from being “asked to pitch” to being “asked to help”.
  • If you are selling expertise (legal, financial, consulting or other professional services) then blogs are a vital tool in terms of building trust in your ability to deliver.  Sales techniques don’t close deals nowadays, trust closes deals and the higher the trust the higher the price you can charge for your expertise.
  • A willingness to share shows how genuine you are and social media is changing the nature of knowledge in sales- if you are not the first to share your knowledge you may as well have never known it.
  1. Twitter – My first two Twitter accounts were personal (I don’t use them anymore) and admittedly at first I didn’t see a business use but now where as Linked-in is where I manage my valuable relationships Twitter is where I grow and invest in my weaker relationships.
  • There really is no better tool for finding and engaging interesting people you don’t yet know.  With my business account I set out deliberately to follow as many interesting people and business people that I could identify as being from Scotland (where I do most of my business).  Most of them followed me back and I shared my thoughts, observations and links to my blogs and I got some great feedback.
  • The best thing for me about following people on Twitter is that you get a real insight into people’s personalities and the things that motivate them from their tweets.  This means I now have a list of really interesting people I want to meet so I invite them to my speakeasy events, introduce them to my most valuable contacts and assuming all goes well we connect on Linked-in. Several have become high value networking contacts (friends in reality) and two have become clients.
  • You can’t advertise on Twitter but you can sell, anyone who says you can’t just does not know how!  Selling isn’t selling anymore it is Engagement Marketing; people want to do business with people they trust and people they know.  I find the best way to sell is to be the sort of person people want to do business with.

To sum up.

The new golden rules of networking; Use social media but don’t forget to be social, collect followers for vanity – Collect relationships for value – share something of value and build your relationships. Oh and one final point – if your goal is to sell it wont work your goal has to be to genuinely help the people you are networking with or they just wont engage you!

Next Steps – Why not share?

  1. Leave a comment
  2. Email the link to this blog to your valuable contacts
  3. Retweet it – share something of value & build your relationships.

Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp

Intelligise, Be Brilliant

How to engage your Linked-in contacts

Linked-in is the silent superstar of social media, it owns the online business connections market and it is without doubt the best online tool for relationship and reputation management.  Most people however just use it like an online rolodex and fail spectacularly to use Linked-in to engage their contacts on a deeper level.

Social media is changing the way companies communicate with customers and contacts and this has led to a plethora of social media consultancies (usually referring to themselves as gurus or experts) advising business people to set up Linked-in profiles and get as many contacts as possible.  One such agency even charges by the contact they deliver for you.  This sort of low level thinking has contributed to a lot of people getting to a 100 contacts and thinking right job done. You can almost hear the sighs of relief now that they have reached the point where they don’t need to work live a slave to look credible.

The problem is that it’s not job done its job started, to get the biggest return on investment from social media you actually have to be social!  A strange concept I know but in business contacts are nothing, relationships are everything.

In the near future people begin to look at numbers of connections, friends, followers etc in the same way as we now look at “hits” as a way of measuring a web business. Yet then as now an internet based technology has had a huge impact on business but with the wrong Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s).  The amount of connections you have isn’t a KPI but the relationship value of those connections is.  The problem is that using all the social media tools in the world won’t help your business, you have to engage your clients on a deeper level than your competition or you won’t be able to compete.

Six keys to improving the relationship value of your Linked-in contacts

1. Quality not quality – First and foremost don’t ask people to link-in unless you know them and want to manage your relationships with them more effectively. Just keep telling yourself it’s a relationship game not a numbers game. At a networking event recently overheard someone say we should link-in to a man he had just met only to have the other person respond “I think we linked-in after the last chamber event”. In my view you should only Link-in to people you have worked with, done business with or know really well.

2. Update regularly – The is a twitteresk feature on Linked in called update and it asks you to post in 140 characters what you are working on – use it and use it every working day. People who visit your profile page will see that you are putting in some effort to your Linked-in page and they will respect that. Your contacts will also usually get an update email of what you are doing every week and this keeps you in touch with your most important contacts for the investment of five minutes per day.

3. Share – Using Linked-in along isn’t a social networking strategy its just one of the tools you will need. If your client’s perception of your credibility and knowledge is key to your success lawyers, accountants architects, IT sales etc then you should blog some useful tips and ideas and share it with your contacts via the update function and by via email.

4. Linked-in messages –When one of your contacts posts an update don’t just read it and think “that was interesting” drop them an email via the system and offer advice or tips, encouragement or a well done as appropriate again a few minutes a day can pay dividends.

5. Network – The most powerful thing you can do with your contacts is bring them together. Ok so some will be in different countries but 80% will be in your local area so BE SOCIAL. In the last two weeks I have held two speakeasy networking events where I have pointed at a bar and invited a dozen of my Linked-in contacts to meet me for a beer and a catch up.  As they all arrived at the same time I introduced them and there are two join ventures in the offer and five very warm sales pitches taking place next week – not only that I received several emails from people saying they were the best networking events they had ever attended.

6. Ask – this is what its all about, Linking-in to people you don’t really know, who don’t really trust you and then failing to engage them means that you have a dead list and a dead list can’t connect you to anyone.  I will bet if most people did a people search for their number one target client in their city they would find several of their connections know them but they wouldn’t have the depth of relationships that would allow them to ask for an introduction.  I am one step away from my top 20 target clients and in 80% of the cases it is one of my Linked-in recommenders that knows them.  It took me a year and I have turned down more offers to connect than I have accepted but my list of contacts is alive and kicking and every time I have asked for an introduction I get it.  Obviously no-ones profile or contact list can ever be perfect but by following the tips above you can improve the value of your Linked-in contacts significantly.

This blog is part two of my series on getting the most from Linked-in you can find part one here I hope it helps.

Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp

Intelligise – Be Brilliant

Five ways to use Linked-in to build Trust and Reputation.

Social media is pervasive it is creating a peer to peer transparent economy where trust and reputation are becoming strongest business currency – yet a high percentage the Social Media profiles of professionals that I view are socially bankrupt.

Linked-in is the best social media platform for doing business but it is widely misunderstood.  Linked-in isn’t an online rolodex it’s a relationship and reputation management tool.

Are you one of those people with a bunch of contacts you don’t really know and an update that’s two months out of date?  Then you are actually damaging your relationships and your reputation.  You may as well go to networking events with a sign round your neck that says “I am not interested in you, I’m only here to get business”.

There are four ways to generate the levels of trust required to be successful in business nowadays and one of those is Reputation Management (RM).  In this blog I am going to focus on how to use Linked-in to build trust via reputation management.  RM is vitally important to business people where personal trust is core to doing business, sales people obviously but also for professionals like accountants, lawyers and architects.  In these professions your reputation is everything and yet these professionals are the worst at using social media to build relationships and trust

Five tips to building trust through your Linked-in profile

  1. Have a goal in mind for your Linked-in profile.  If your goal is to improve your expert positioning then focus on your qualifications, past customer recommendations and your passion for your field of work.
  2. Don’t forget the profile picture and make sure it looks like you do now.  Ideally the photo should be of you in a business situation / business dress.  Note this is different for Linked-in than Twitter or Facebook where you can be less formal and broadcast more of your personally.
  3. Know your connections; don’t accept invites from people you don’t really know.  If you were to build a contact base of 500 people how many would your really see a benefit from engaging – 150 maybe 200 at most?
  4. Update every working day of the week – how long will it take you to post 140 charter description of what you are doing today?  Look at it this way if you are a lawyer and you post an update saying that you are writing a talk on “new distance selling regulations” then you are sending a highly focussed message to your most valuable contacts that you have this expertise.  This builds trust, knowledge, referrals and don’t rule out the possibility that your phone will ring directly as a result of the update.  Here is what my profile said this morning: “Gordon is writing a blog on how to engage your Linked-in contacts – watch this space for a link this afternoon”.   Guess what it will say this afternoon?
  5. Get recommended, this is the key action that will unlock all of the trust benefits of Linked-in, but there is a problem; if your contacts don’t see that you are serious about Linked-in why should they go to the bother of writing a recommendation?  If you haven’t carried out steps 1-4 people just won’t put in the effort.

Keys to a good recommendation strategy.

Don’t wait to be asked, if you have based your contacts strategy on quality and not quantity then there should be lots of people you could recommend – be proactive.

Don’t ever offer a recommendation on the basis that they give one back just give and see what happens.

Send a request after every successfully completed piece of work and you will build up a portfolio of relevant recommendations.  “He is a good guy” isn’t worth the pixels it’s written on – recommendations need to tie into your overall goal for your linked-in profile.

Dear god, don’t tell your staff to recommend you – how sad is that! – I hate seeing a list of recommendations with no clients but lots of staff saying “he is a great boss”. My rule is 20% max from current staff and none till you have at least ten focussed ones from clients and partners.

And finally – be the sort of person that people want to recommend  – Clue – you have to be someone that people can trust


For professionals but especially for accountants and lawyers trying to win business without first establishing trust is like eating steak without chewing.  As social media becomes more pervasive “online reputation management” will grow as a vital source of personal trust.  So if your Linked-in profile isn’t optimised, then you are probably already loosing business and until you read this I will bet you didn’t know why.

Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp

Intelligise – Be Brilliant

Check out my Linked-in profile and give me a call or drop me an email if I can be of assistance

The Most Important Question in Business

I train and coach business development people and at the end of every training session the key lesson highlighted by almost everyone is “knowing what questions to ask during the sales pitch”.  Actually a lot of them say that their key learning was “to ask questions during the sales pitch” & boy do those guys learn a lot at one of my seminars!

When we talk about questions I tell my delegates that the most important question for the sales person is “how is the buying decision going to be made”.  Almost 50% of sales presentations and over 80% of sales emails and cold calls are made to the wrong person and by that I mean someone who does not have the authority to say yes to the sale.

The most important question for the business however is to devise your own version of the most important question ever asked in business and that is “Do you want fries with that”?  Yup unless you are a five stone, vegan health freak you have said yes to that question.  Globally “Do you want fries with that”? is worth tens of millions in sales for MacDonald’s every year.  It got to the point that people didn’t wait to be asked they just ordered fries and MacDonald’s had to come up with another question “Would you like to supersize that”?

I am serious, I am not being flippant or funny, 99% of all sales presentations are designed from the viewpoint of the selling company, they are talking at people and hardly any sales pitches are based around asking questions of the buyer.

Let me by totally clear – Old style features and benefits presentations (especially on PowerPoint) are to sales what steam engines are to a Bullet Train!

The world has changed – as it always does – a new generation of buyers are in charge and they react badly to old style sales pitches. No one wants to be sold to any more they want help to buy!  The key to helping people to buy is to ask questions, to uncover their often hidden needs, wants and desires in a way that drives trust, which creates openness that leads to the sale.


When the sale is made the biggest opportunity in business is often missed.  The way to land the opportunity it is to ask the most important question in business – No not “do you want fries with that”? You need to ask your own personal version of that question.  As a sales recruiter the most important question I ever asked was “would you like training with that” and now my business model is based around only recruiting when I get to train the new sales guys and that means I can now offer a guarantee. In fact in recruitment the question that led to more sales during my entire recruitment career than calling and fixing appointments was “what other positions does your company need to fill”?

What is your version of the question?

  • Training – Would you like ongoing coaching with that?
  • Technology – Would you like technical support with that?
  • Flooring or roofing company – would you like us to maintain it and offer a guarantee?
  • Phone systems – would you like broadband and mobile phones with that?

OK I get that you wouldn’t always ask the question in such a simple way as MacDonalds but the principle remains the same.  Millions of pounds of sales are probably being missed by your business right now as either you haven’t figured out what your version of the question is – or because your people are not bothering to ask it.

On average the companies I work with get 25% more sales from existing customers and increase the value of new sales by 15% – but the question they invariably ask me to begin with is how they can find new customers!

Two Caveats

  1. In larger companies the reason the question doesn’t get asked is often because the benefit from any additional sale will go to a colleague in another team. Good sales management requires that where cross selling involved, sufficient benefit must go to the questioner.
  2. If your sales team are cold calling old fashioned closers, when they ask the question the answer will be NO even if the client really needs the additional service – think about it!

Engage your customers on a deeper level – ask searching questions, stop selling and start helping people to buy, become the type of company people want to buy from and remember that the most important question often comes after the sale is made.

Action – Please leave a comment and give me a call if you want to grow your business.

Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp

Intelligise-Be Brilliant

Everyone hates “Sales People” BUT they love “Experts”

Solo oily heed text

Everyone hates sales people – admit it you do as well – even sales people hate sales people!

When a sales person approaches you in a store and asks “can I help you” unless you are in the Apple Store or maybe PC World you automatically say “no thanks just looking”.  Even if you are not just looking, even when you really could do with a second opinion on which shirt goes with the trousers you just picked out.  When a telesales person gets you on the phone you will rarely give them the chance to tell you about the deal they have for you or the service they offer.  At the networking event when someone you just met delivered his elevator pitch before you have even had a conversation and tried to force his card on you, the only person watching who didn’t know that you were not going to do business is the salesman.

The rare exception I mentioned was when you go into the Apple Store or PC World you actively seek out the salesman to ask advice we value their expertise, you understand that you may know less than them and so you are desperate to tell them what we need, how we will use it and how much you can afford and boy will their advice influenced your buying decision.


Because everyone hates “Sales People” BUT they love “Experts”.

But it doesn’t have to be that way!

In the 80s and 90s sales people were trained to push information, to state the features and benefits overcome objections and then try to close the deal.  The world has moved on but sales training in the main hasn’t.  People don’t want to be sold to they want to be engaged, advised and empowered to make the buying decision themselves.   Engaging means sharing expertise, questioning and delving deep into the needs and wants of the buyer, engaging is far more powerful than running through the old style sales script.  Engaging empowers the buyer to make the decision, it is easier than selling, it’s more fun AND everyone I coach to engage increase their sales by at least 25%.

So stop selling people what you want them to buy and start engaging and helping people buy what they really need.

Fortunately becoming an expert is easy, yes you need to read your product manual and service level agreement etc but that’s just background info.  The best way to become an expert and be loved by your clients is to ask questions.  A field sales person will meet between four and a dozen buyers a day, a telesales person will talk to at least 20 decision makers a day and a retail sales person will talk to up to a hundred.

Now imagine if those sales conversations were used to engage and to understand the reasons that the buyers may want to buy and to understand the problems and pain experienced by the buyers of their service.  How long would it take for every one of them to become real experts in their marketplace, to be able to offer really credible advice and to share information that will empower the buyers, make them respect the sales person and make it far more likely that they will buy?

Results can be instant but to make engaging a habit and get 25% plus sales increases usually takes people I coach about three weeks.  The person in every business that is best placed to access the knowledge required to become an expert is the sales person but most of them just keep trying to force the sale through rather than listening to reasons that their prospect needs to buy and that’s a pity because everyone hates sales people BUT they love experts.

Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp

Intelligise Be Brilliant