Behind the Desktop Wallpaper – Ranking for Generic Queries

June 23rd, 2017 by Mike Bates


image search results

generic desktop background

Every time we search, we give away something else about ourselves. Whether it’s to Google, via the ubiquitous search assistant, or industry sites like Amazon, Facebook, or Skyscanner. You might be lusting after a holiday to Las Vegas while your other half is none the wiser, but the chances are Google, Twitter, and AirBnB have already clocked it and have a legion of ads waiting to send your way.

User intent, and predicting the likelihood of users converting is big business. It’s the evolution of these algorithms that continues to drive digital ad spend’s annual increase, from PPC campaigns through to broadcaster VOD. But what about non-commercial searches? How can publishers and webmasters create content that will appeal to the ultra-generic query?

It’s simple really: remember that the user is a person (even if that person is one of thousands of ambiguous search impressions).

 

Protip: Image Filters in Image Search

Google Image Filters

What do Kate Spade, Lily Pulitzer, Disney, Marvel, and owls have in common?

They are all modifiers to the generic ‘desktop wallpaper query’ that other users are applying to refine their search. Keyword research tools also show that other common modifiers are ‘cool’, ‘free’ (did anyone ever pay for these?), and ‘nature’.

So our users are telling us that, when people are looking for specific wallpapers, they like them to contain these items, designs, and people. This is certainly something of a none-point, but what else does it say tell us about people, and their search habits?

It tells us that people are a bit unsure of themselves – they set their desktop wallpapers not just for their own satisfaction, but to tell others about their interests, what makes them unique. They have to have cool device wallpapers, showing their interest in art, comics, and cinema. This is great if people volunteer this information to Google when they search, but what about when you look for something that is unbelievably generic.

What if you ask Google to provide a ‘desktop wallpaper’? Well, these search terms tell us that when people ask for a ‘desktop wallpaper’, these are all the things that users are NOT looking for.

 

Ranking for ‘Desktop Wallpaper’

image search results

If you’re searching for ‘desktop wallpaper’, you’re out of ideas. You don’t want a Disney wallpaper, or you’d have asked for it, and that Obama Yes We Can wallpaper no longer fits the bill. You want Google to pre-empt what will work for you, and the search engine needs to do this on the assumption that if you had a specific subject in mind you’d have made it clear.

But without anything to go off, Google hedges its bets. The algorithm can only present high-quality wallpapers that are going to appeal to the widest possible audience. It also has to do this in a way that offers better results than any other search engine can, or it risks losing even more ground to Bing.

Google is being asked to provide the most acceptably average desktop wallpapers imaginable – the Lighthouse Family of image results pages.

 

Ranking for Ultra-Generic Queries

While SEO, reputation, and UX will all be vital here, this query is all about content. While it will be tough to rank if you can’t get the basics of a good website in place, you have to offer the goods. Without an achingly generic wallpaper to offer, you have no chance.

So if we want to create this content, we need to understand what makes the best, average wallpaper. But how do you know what to offer people who don’t know what they want, let alone tell you what they’re after? You look to see what Google is already suggesting.

 

Generic Content for Image Search

desktop subject pie chart

Returning to our SERP, a subjective categorisation of the top 125 results by subject matter shows that 30% of these results are landscapes or images of the skyline, while 25% of images prominently feature water, and another 25% focus on plants.

The biggest losers are technology (The Matrix wallpapers are a thing of the past guys, sorry) and images of people are clearly too divisive. Only 0.8% of ‘desktop wallpaper’ results include people, and you can never see their faces clearly.

So we can reason that if you’ve ever searched ‘desktop wallpaper’, the chances are you ended up setting a leafy landscape with a lake in it as your background.

 

The Perfect Colour for a Desktop Wallpaper

colours for a desktop wallpaper

Charlotte Perkins Gillman can rest easy: the desktop wallpaper is not yellow. In fact, using an image colour summarizer on our SERP reveals three colours dominate: a muted cerulean, olive, and indigo. These align well with water, foliage, and blue sky respectively: they even occur in representative quantities.

Our perfectly generic wallpaper would therefore be approximately 7% water, 12% greenery, and 28% sky blue. The sky blue is slightly purple, so you probably want to take your photo at twilight to recreate the perfect shade, and edit your image to mute the colours a little.

 

Creating the Ultimate Desktop Image

ultimate desktop image

The perfect image for a desktop wallpaper is a wet landscape that uses a muted palette. Never include human faces and stay away from technology, although an animal is allowed (make sure it’s a popular one: puppies, kittens, tigers, and mystical dolphins all do well).

This points to a fairly typical landscape, so it’s hardly surprising to find that this isn’t without precedent. Microsoft already cemented its place in desktop wallpaper history when it set the photograph ‘Bliss’ as the default wallpaper in Windows XP.

While too bright to perform well now (notably, Bliss ranked 267th in our sample SERP), the iconic wallpaper is 34% sky blue, and 20% sap green. All that’s missing is our 7% water. So if anyone at Microsoft is reading this, add in a lake and reduce the saturation, and desktop wallpaper domination can be yours once again.

 

An Outsider’s Perspective of Yorkshire

August 1st, 2016 by Nathan Fletcher


yorkshire terrier

To fully-appreciate Yorkshire Day, I’m pretty sure it’s a widely known fact that years of living experience is required to understand the range of quirks and nuances ‘God’s Own Country’ has to offer. It’s not about sitting back with a cup of Yorkshire Tea, flat cap atop your head, whistling away to the theme song of Emmerdale that makes you a thorough-bred Yorkshireman. You need to know what it’s like to really experience the Yorkshire life, living and breathing the Yorkshire ‘way’ to fully understand why the county means so much to so many people.

I (unfortunately) don’t have that experience just yet, after moving up from Derbyshire just over three years ago for University. Now though, I consider myself enough of a Yorkshireman to join in the celebrations with the rest of the county. However, there’s a ‘but’… I, among many who have moved to Yorkshire from elsewhere, still find it difficult to fully understand Yorkshire and a wide range of its traits.

Here are just a few things that continue to baffle me…

 

A Whole New Language

The letter ‘t’ seems to strike fear into all Yorkshire folk. I’m not sure why, but there seems to be some form of unwritten rule that the less it’s used, the better your vocabulary is.

The only time Yorkshiremen actually use the letter ‘t’ though, is when they’re going ‘t’werk’, rather than ‘to work’.

The word ‘the’ also seems to have nearly vanished from existence. It’s a pretty necessary word all over the country, so why not in Yorkshire?

When a Yorkshireman is confused, he’ll say ‘eh?’ and when he wants to turn something down, he’ll say ‘nor’. It definitely sounds better when spoken aloud in a thick Yorkshire accent though.

Finally, before I moved to Yorkshire, ‘Tara’ was a girl’s name, definitely not a way of saying goodbye.

 

What’s Wrong with Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner?

This is a confusing one to me as my daily meals consist of breakfast, lunch and dinner. From Yorkshire though, it’s a completely different story. Since when was ‘dinner’ the meal you had in the middle of the day? And since when was ‘tea’ an evening meal?

And considering we’re on the subject of food, it’s still called a ‘cob’, not a ‘bread-cake’ or a ‘bap’. I don’t think I’ll ever adapt to this one, but I’ll continue to stake my claim whenever the debate arises in the office…

 

Yorkshire Tea, or no tea

I’ve already adapted to this one though – Yorkshire Tea is definitely the only tea worth drinking.

 

The Yorkshire Passion Is Rife

Another thing that I’ve noticed that is really unique about Yorkshire, is that its inhabitants are insanely passionate about their county. The ‘Yorkshire! Yorkshire! Yorkshire!’ chant occurs at almost every Yorkshire public event I’ve attended, which baffles me as someone from Derbyshire, a county where I’ve never witnessed the same vocal passion.

 

I’m From The East Midlands, Not The South.

Since moving to Leeds, I’ve been called a Southerner more times than I can count. I came from the East Midlands, with way over 200 miles between myself and the South Coast, not from Portsmouth!

 

It’s Not So Grim Up North…

Despite all my confusions though, Yorkshire really is a great place to live with the perfect balance between urban and rural life. The cities are lively and diverse, the countryside is incredible to behold and the bits in-between are pretty nice too. And although ‘summer’ lasts no more than one single weekend, there’s always something in Yorkshire to keep you occupied.

 

Happy Yorkshire Day, everyone!

A Boutique Christmas

December 18th, 2015 by Sarah Bartlett


Boutique Christmas photoshoot

It wouldn’t be a Boutique Christmas without a good old Christmas card photoshoot. Last year it was our take on the Kardashians, this year it was Christmas party themed complete with hungover aftermath (come on, we know you can all relate).

We donned our best Christmas jumpers, filled our stockings with decorations and party poppers, and poured tea-stained water into champagne flutes… The results were pretty epic…

Feeling festive

A Christmas photoshoot

 

And that’s not all, this year our Christmas cards had a cheeky, Boutique-style twist. On the reverse was the ‘aftermath’ of the ‘party’ on the front of the card… And the results weren’t too pretty…

 

feeling rough at christmas hungover christmas

We even got Malcolm in on the fun, but unfortunately, it was all a bit too much for him and he ended up getting legless and feeling dog rotten about it…

Legless Malcolm

 

If we don’t speak to you before, we hope you have an absolute cracker of a Christmas and we’ll see you on the other side!

Love from everyone at Boutique x

 

P.S. A Miracle on the 4th Floor has since happened and Malcolm is back to his four-legged best.

Boutique Double Act Takes Gold

October 30th, 2015 by Sarah Gough


Tom and Rory - Gym Members of the Month!

Our very own double act, Tom and Rory, have been jointly awarded Gym Member of The Month at Motive8 North!

Not only are we proud of their athletic achievements, we’re also tickled by their thoroughly Boutique Q&A.

We’ve posted below for your amusement. The original post can be found here and our resident champions can probably be found at ‘Chester Zoo’ (leg day unlikely).

 

How long have you been a member of the motive8 gym?

R – Since January I think.

T – 2 years in January – But I’ve only been coming regularly for about 9 months!

 

Why do you train at the motive8 gym?

R – It’s right next to where I work and it’s got everything I need in there to get a real pump on.

T – It’s next to my work so I have no excuses not to go, oh and the banter is pretty great, apart from Chris. And there is plenty of room for me to dance between sets.

 

What was your goal when you started at the gym?

R – This award

T – Trim down so my mates would stop ribbing me for getting fat. I used to be an athlete you know….

 

What is your current goal?

R – To continue going 3-4 times a week so I can wear EVEN tighter T-shirts.

Not be too top heavy!

T – Buy a ticket to Shredsville… Ha! On a serious note, I’ve built strength and bulked up a fair bit, I really want to start focusing on getting lean now.

 

What’s your biggest accomplishment since you have been training?

R – Being able to walk over to the big boy weights at the start of a weights session.

T- Having to buy some new clothes. My trousers kept falling down, without my permission.

Five brands that are killing it on Twitter

June 25th, 2015 by Charley Downey


25.06.15

Twitter is the ‘big dog’ within the constantly evolving social media world, and these days you can search for almost any celeb or business and find their Twitter account. Whether it be breaking news, opinions on a TV show or social competitions, Twitter is the first point of call for many consumers- so it’s incredibly important for brands to stay active and ‘ahead of the game’.

In saying that, tweets about ‘niche’ products or services will, understandably, require more thought and ‘thinking-outside-of-the-box’. No one likes sales tweet, after sales tweet, after sale – you get where I’m going with this.

So I’ve decided to compile a list of brands that, I think, are killing it on Twitter.

5) Charmin

Who said toilet roll was boring? With a following of 67k and engagement on every tweet, Charmin take toilet roll to another level.

Charmin Tweet     Charmin Tweet

 

4) Tesco

The likes of leeks, sausages and other groceries could prove difficult to tweet about- but Tesco goes about this problem perfectly.

 

Katy Perry- Tesco Tweet

Tesco Tweet
Tesco Tweet

 

3) Delta

Who said aeroplanes don’t have a sense of humour?

 

Delta Tweet

Delta Tweet

 

2) Arby’s

This American sandwich chain knows how to throw humour into their posts while also spreading brand and product awareness.

Arby's Tweet Arby's Tweet Arby's Milkshake Tweet

 

1) Taco Bell

And finally, my winner. With 1.57m followers you know these guys are doing something right. Oh and their followers have become so loyal over the years, a three word tweet can rake up 4.3k favourites. The screenshots say it all…

 

Taco Bell Tweet Burrito- Taco Bell Tweet Taco Bell Tweet  Bell is life

 

At Boutique we strongly believe a little humour gets you a long way. Where it’s possible to instil this into social, it goes along way to people engaging with your brand. The above examples all portray how important social engagement is to a business, whether it be loo roll or tacos!

If you want media advice, we’ve an office full of comms champions bursting with ideas. Drop in for a cuppa and we’ll happily share our thoughts!

Happy Tweeting.

The Great Boutique Bake Off

October 8th, 2014 by Sarah Gough


As a lover of good bakes, it seems fitting for my inaugural Boutique blog post to be GBBO-related.

Tonight, the nation’s avid bake off fans will discover their series five winner – and what a series it’s been. With tears, soggy bottoms and puns aplenty, it’s been a tumultuous time for contestants and viewers alike. As we count down the moments until our 2014 winner is crowned, I reflect on my personal highlights of this brilliantly British battle (which incidentally don’t include Mary – my admiration for her goes without saying).

Martha

When I hark back to my 17 year old self, I recall an awkward teenager struggling to concentrate on A-level revision. My weekends were spent worrying about ‘unfair’ life problems and trying to memorise the Highway Code to cement my independence. Eight years on, I’m watching 17 year old Martha Collison achieve TV stardom by competing with 11 other hopefuls in culinary combat.

Martha is an inspiration to a younger generation of budding bakers. Leaving in 5th place, she took little leaks in her stride and, despite a few tears, coped extremely well under the pressure to which many of her contemporaries crumbled. Studying Food Technology, Maths and Chemistry, she had a lot on her plate without the competition, but managed to deliver some real showstoppers. I think she has an amazing career ahead of her and commend her cheeriness, confidence and cool-head on such a young pair of shoulders.

Bingate (and the power of social media)

When Iain, aka the bearded man, fell at the Baked Alaska hurdle I don’t think anybody foresaw the social media frenzy that ensued. Iain’s exit was met with fixing claims and poor Diana became an overnight enemy. What stuck with me was how heavily this highlighted the power, and danger, of cunning editing and of social media. Yes, the producers created a dramatic moment and the brand received enormous levels of coverage and interaction, but they also risked the reputation of an innocent 70-year-old lady. With social media so prevalent in today’s society, we are subject to instant and often ferocious criticism. We must embrace its opportunities whilst remaining aware of its perils, and when in a position of power or influence, ensure we’re utilising it responsibly. Always consider how our actions could be played out online – because it’ll be there forever!

Chain retail reaction

Since the first series in 2010, sales of home baking products have gone through the roof. Retail giants have regularly reported huge surges in sales, with Waitrose even claiming a spike of interest in their Baked Alaskas after bingate. Sure, we can’t create a television programme every time we want to drive sales of client products, but it highlights the impact of topics in the public domain. If the conversations are there, let’s jump on the back of them.

And finally…

What better excuse to share the baking love? I bring you… *drum roll*… a taste of the Boutique team’s own culinary efforts. To celebrate ahead of tonight’s grand finale, we clubbed together to create a home-grown spread Mary would be proud of – even if Paul would have something to say about the presentation. Take a look at what happened…

Selection 2

A great selection was presented, including a classic Victoria Sponge, some chocolate fudge brownies, a Bakewell Tart, and even an Oreo cheesecake.

Team Boutique Bakeoff

You wouldn’t have thought it from the friendly faces, but this was a fierce competition…

Sarah and Charlee Cutting

I cut into my sponge, a little apprehensive after oven trouble last night!

Luke cutting cake

Luke prepares his ‘deconstructed’ Bakewell Tart for the tasting.

Steve's cake

Steve’s super proud of his lemon drizzle cake. He’s a first time baker, too – very well done!

Rory Muffin Man

Rory, another novice when it comes to baking, surprised with his fabulous raspberry and white chocolate muffins.

Charley cheesecake

Charley and her delightful Oreo cheesecake. Even though it didn’t technically need baking, we’ve let her off… It was bloody delicious!

Luke's Tart

Luke was a little smug about his tart. He deserved extra points for making gluten free pastry, too!

Amy

Amy also brought a gluten free treat to the bake off – chocolate fudge brownies, complete with Boutique logos stencilled on top with icing sugar.

Sarah's cake

Me and my Victoria Sponge, which, thankfully, turned out to be fantastic, despite the problematic oven!

We’ve done the honours and completed an extensive test with entries marked on creativity, complexity, presentation, taste and texture. After much deliberation and an independent adjudicator… we have a four-way win! Charley, Luke, Rory and I were voted star bakers, but we think you’ll agree from the pictures it was a full house of proper good bakes.

Are you a fan of The Great British Bake Off? Which of Boutique’s baked goods would you most like to try? Tweet us @boutiquemc and let us know!

Why do sheep stand on hills? Why we should all be asking stupid questions

September 30th, 2014 by Charley Downey


Sheep

Sometimes, despite an overwhelming urge to the contrary, we avoid asking stupid questions during polite conversation. Yes, we’ve avoided the distinct possibility of rosy cheeks and the desire for instant retraction, but we have also stunted our curiosity and potentially missed out on a dialogue-inducing nugget of information.  Well, who’s to say what is and what isn’t a stupid question? In our younger years, we are blessed with a thirst for knowledge – unafraid to question anything or anyone. Inevitably, children aren’t entirely aware of topics that could be labelled as unethical, or queries that could be classed as offensive, but the overall attitude of challenging anything they are unsure about is something that, as adults, we tend to ignore.   This innocence and curiosity, free of inhibition, is an often-overlooked quality that could hugely improve both working and personal relationships.

Here at Boutique, we’re proud to say we are good at what we do due to our honest relationships with one and other, as well as with our clients. We adopt an open-attitude and encourage the ideal that no question is a stupid question. Our PPC King (his preferred job title), Luke Lynam, is a perfect example of how maintaining an open and outspoken approach to queries can reap rewards in terms of knowledge-gained and personal growth. An example and our conclusion being…

Luke’s question: ‘’Why do sheep always stand on hills?’’

Conclusion: Clearly, every time Luke passes a group of these fluffy animals the question of why they choose to stand on hills, as opposed to flat ground, has played on his mind. Who are we to judge? If Luke is eager to build on his knowledge of farm animals, why shouldn’t we help the guy out? The answer is… Well we’re not actually sure on the answer (another team member initially told him that it’s due to two of their legs being longer the other, which Luke’s gullible mind lapped up without question) but, the fact of the matter is he asked, and we did our best to provide a resolution.

Ok, so this was niche – it’s not the type of question we’d expect on a daily basis, but the sentiment remains the same. If you’re at work and there’s something you’re not too sure about, or something you do want to question, go ahead and ask – because you’ll never know until you do.  Whether this is from a client or colleague’s perspective, people respect honesty and life is much easier when people understand one and other’s thoughts.

Additionally, from an employer’s perspective, it’s important that employees don’t talk down to people if they ask stupid questions. If you’re in a position of responsibility, embrace and nurture it. From personal experience, it’s incredibly comforting as a new starter when you are encouraged to ask questions. Rather than shying away and taking longer to do the task at hand, there’s almost always somebody in the room who will only take a few seconds to answer the query.

Regardless of authority, job position, closeness of relationship and so on, why not just keep everyone in the loop? After all, the smartest minds are ones that ask questions, even stupid ones.

Which Inbetweener are you?

September 9th, 2014 by Thomas Selby


Which Inbetweener are you?

I’m going to start at the end. Sort of.

As a sales person, I’ve wondered if someone like Jay from the Inbetweeners (a caricature of a typical 80s sales wide boy) could be successful in reality.

As I’m sure you’ll be aware, there’s a second Inbetweeners movie out at the moment. It’s great to see British comedy doing so well on the big screen. The Inbetweeners is one of those special ‘shows’ that has a bit of everything; great gags, clever plots, impressive acting and, most importantly, hilarious characters.

The key to these great characters is how easily we all relate to them. I’m sure you’ve all had the discussion in a group, trying to work out which of your mates is which. Mine is always unanimously (and begrudgingly) the same character… I’ll share who it is with you later!

When I’m not diligently seeing to client’s needs, perpetually improving my pipeline or tirelessly striving to better myself, my mind does find occasion to wander. Where I go on these short brain walks is largely a mystery; a journey quickly confined to fuzzy sub-conscious memory. However, from time to time, I do amble out the other side with genuine thoughts and ideas.

I have a feeling a radio ad or some kind of sinister subliminal messaging had drawn me to thinking about the Inbetweeners, onto my mates, then in a slightly less linear fashion which Inbetweener I was. Not the Inbetweener my mates saw, but the one my colleagues and clients saw. So I’ll pose this question: when in the workplace, which Inbetweener are you?

Here’s the lineup:

Jay

Top exaggerator, yarn spinner, over egger. All comments must be taken with a bucket of salt. The frequency of blatant exaggerations have seriously affected credibility. Very convincing to the uninitiated and could make a big initial impact, however has questionable longevity and paper thin arguments upon closer inspection.

Also a massive bellend.

Will

Not as smart as he thinks. Horrendous social skills and zero emotional intelligence. Has an inability to empathise with others and will rarely get the cooperation he needs. Good general knowledge, however uses marginally above average intelligence to belittle others and as a guise to exert authority. Outspoken at the wrong times.

Dresses like a Member of Parliament.

Neil

Not the sharpest knife, gullible and lacking in the most basic common sense. He’s never going to join MENSA, win awards for thought leadership or redefine an industry. He will however just get on with it, wind him up and let him go.

If you need a simple job doing without any grumbling Neil’s the man. Just don’t let your customers meet him.

Simon

A bit of a romantic. Easily influenced by others. Probably capable of being good at something but let’s others lead him astray. He’s good with other people but constantly chases after lost causes. Needs to stick to his guns and learn to pick his battles.

Crap hair.

So in an ideal world which Inbetweener would you be?

I think the answer is… All of them. In reality we all share traits from each of the four, it’s all about how we mix them up.

Be Jay. Bring stories to life, adding enthusiasm and a bit of well-reasoned exaggeration will make you stand out. Don’t lie or over promise, credibility takes a long time to build and seconds to disappear (I talk from experience).

Be Will. Understanding your business, product or market is a must. Conveying it in a clear concise way makes a real difference. Don’t be a know it all, people respect intelligence not arrogance. Relate to colleagues and clients people will go out of their way if the genuinely feel valued.

Be Neil. Don’t grumble, there’s something to be said for a sunny disposition and an uncomplicated approach to work. The world needs doer’s, we’re all so busy trying to be leaders.

Be Simon. Dream big, set goals. Ambition will get you out of bed in the morning. Setting, reaching for and missing unachievable goals wont. Try to help those around you, think of it as credit and hopefully people will pay it back when you really need it. Being liked is just as important at work as it is in the pub. Make sure you balance this as best you can, don’t end up being the office lackey. Make people work with you because you add value not because you’ll give them a free lunch.

According to my ‘friends’ and as far as I’m concerned somewhat dubiously I’m… Jay.

Which Inbetweener are you? Tweet us @boutiquemc and let us know!

How to lose friends and alienate people

August 4th, 2014 by Thomas Selby


How to lose friends and alienate people

I spend a large amount of time calling other businesses pedalling my wares, speaking with receptionists, PAs, colleagues or anyone available to give me the run around and keep me away from my intended. The way in which these people react to me varies hugely, even with receptionists.

The scale slides from surprisingly rude all the way to talking me through the family tree.

As a sales person I’m used to this and don’t take offence to people being short with me. I get it, I am one of many and people don’t like being sold to. But I don’t think this experience is exclusive to my ‘kind’.

I recently called up Sky to pay my bill. It was never going to be enjoyable but I was not expecting the experience to be this terrible. I’m not keen on parting with cash at the best of times and if I’m honest call centres unnerve me. A bit like hospitals, only without the risk of coming in contact with MRSA.

One thing I did come into contact with was a comedian.

I can only assume he had handed in his notice and was ‘sticking it to the man’ with his own brand of well observed creative banter. Either that or there’d been a gas leak.

Said comedian answered the phone mid-laugh and then asked me to take part in a laughing exercise. What followed was not a laughing matter (although in hindsight  it is pretty funny), he asked me if I had loads of money and if I wanted to pay his bills for him, then asked me how old I was and told me I was in no place to question him. All of this was punctuated by a slow laugh. HA, HA. Then the phone went dead.

It’s safe to say I wasn’t impressed. Once I’d pulled my phone out of the lounge wall I checked just to make sure I hadn’t called the wrong number. I hadn’t.

I called back, told them what happened and they looked into it. Lucky for them I just wanted to get my bill paid and get off the phone, but I’m not entirely happy with their response. They barely even apologised and told me there was no record of the call.

I’m not one for making a fuss; I rarely send food back and have never decided to call the ASA or Ofcom after an episode of Top Gear. Not everyone shares my affliction, a strange politeness reflex that kicks in whenever I’m uncomfortable. Small things like this, when given the right exposure can be very damaging to a business or brand, which got me thinking…

When at work some of the people I speak to are rude or short before they even know who I am or why I’m calling. Despite our best efforts business is still based on people, there is no Skynet, it has not become self-aware. As people, all of our daily interactions drive an emotional response, some small, some big. These emotional responses might be subconscious but, as we all know, have a lasting effect. We build stereotypes, associations and opinions based on our emotions. Sometimes we will try to reason, make considerations and weigh up both sides of a story.

In my experience emotion is the death of reason.

These emotional responses are hugely important and we need to consider them where ever people can interact or come into contact with your business or brand. It is not the sole responsibility of Sales, Marketing or customer services to understand how to interact with ‘outsiders’. Everyone in business should be given the time and tools to learn how to manage these situations in order to drive the best emotional response. This tends not be an issue in larger companies, but in smaller businesses it can be a massive problem. I currently work for a small owner managed company, this is something we sell on. Our culture, people and knowledge are the key things we use to attract new business.

This means if the comedian from Sky was answering our phones they would have stopped ringing a while ago.

Not so much HA, HA after all.

Let’s talk about arousal

April 28th, 2014 by Elliot Jones


The physiological and psychological state of being awake or reactive to stimuli, that is.

Arousal includes an elevated heart rate and blood pressure, and sensory alertness that makes us more mobile and ready to respond. The phenomenon can be traced back to the brains of our great ancestors the reptiles. Now, we don’t have to flee from predators or defend ourselves as often as our scaly green cousins do, but our brains continue to be wired in that way.

When it comes to content, if it’s arousing, it’s shareable.

High arousal emotions include excitement, astonishment, delight and eagerness, along with shock, fear and frustration. Lower down the chart are jealousy, nervousness, hope and pride, while boredom, depression, calm and sleepiness linger at the bottom.

Contagious content evokes high arousal emotions. Whether we’re left crying with laughter or shaking with anger, we are much more likely to share the piece on Twitter, post a status about it on Facebook or email the link to a friend. Just think about it – at the beginning of the year, the video about dolphin killing in Japan was all over the web, and it was impossible to scroll through a social feed without screenshots of a blood-filled ocean appearing. Japan’s US ambassador, Caroline Kennedy, also tweeted about the slaughter season, and in no time at all she received over 4,500 retweets and 2,400 favourites. The content was horrifying, distressing and anger-inducing, and that’s why it was shareable.

Content that arouses at the pleasurable end of the spectrum is equally as successful. Memes involving Grumpy Cat are constantly on circulation, while Ellen De Generes’ Oscars selfie was shared over 2m times on Twitter. Along with hilarious internet celebrities and star-studded selfies, over the top proposals, cute babies and embarrassing moments are always guaranteed to reach virality.

Just try it. We guarantee that these pieces of high arousal content will leave you with the urge to share!

Click the image to see the full high-arousal post…

Baby Orangutan

 What’s your favourite piece of high arousal content? Tweet us @boutiquemc and let us know!