It’s week two of Open Snook and internally our team capacity is full on with the development of a new project (Glasgow City Council Website re-design), our continuing work on Social Finance with the Cabinet Office, preparations for the Global CycleHack (which now has 55 cities signed up) and our development of Community Alcohol Campaigns for Glasgow with NHS GGC. Not to mention, I’ve been in Austria this week at a conference on Tourism.

You may have seen the launch of Open Snook last week, with version 1.0.  I made reference to the difficulty of re-branding a company whilst in delivery mode.  Those of you who run companies at the helm or operationally will know exactly what I mean.  I’ve heard this from so many directors that they find it hard, just like us, to carve out the time to re-brand themselves.

Developing a new website often aligns with a re-brand and at Snook, when we talk about brand, we don’t just mean logo and colour palette, we’re looking at the very core of what it is we do and where we want to go.

We’re asking who we are? What is it that we do? How do we talk about our work? How do we create a sustainable model? What are our principles? What have we learned? How do we share this? Are we having impact?

We’re looking at the very core of who we are and how we present this back out to the world. But if we did this all at once, we’d never manage to produce anything.

So with Open Snook, we made a commitment to put our thinking out there, deliver as lean as possible and see the reaction.

So far so good. But there’s not much on here – yet.

That’s why weekly we’re shipping the updated version.  We’ve been using the MoSCoW framework to develop our functions and content for the site and ensure to deliver lightly.  If we didn’t do this, I know we would have put off producing any new content until at least June of this year.

Our version 1.1 framework is here, and you can follow all the function votes.

M – Newsletter Sign Up

S – List of Basic Services
C- What we do, Client Logos, Case Studies
W – Blog layout

So up next, it’s our Newsletter function.  This year we developed an internal role for communications and documenting our work via a newsletter, Eve’s been at the helm of this.  I asked her to give an overview of why we’re learning newsletters matter when going out to your audience:

“A Newsletter plays an important role when communicating with your clients/customers/users. It gives us the power to effectively communicate our achievements, updates and intentions through an up-to-date informative content delivered to our audience on monthly basis. The importance of sending a bite-sized newsletter out to our audience with relevant and interesting content gives our subscribers the unique experience of getting to know us.

Along our journey, the first thing we learnt is that having a tidy, up-to-date database systems (CRM) is the first step we need to take in order to build a relationship with our audiences.

So far, we’ve sent out three newsletters and we keep learning and improving with each one. We take the time to closely look at data and what our readers find most interesting: from clicking links of interest and user journeys through our content, to your unsubscribe reasons.”

I had aways been sceptical of a newsletter, I’m personally pretty bad at opening them, particularly since Google has now separated my inbox.  However, our newsletter that went out on Friday, within a few hours ago had been opened over 300 times within the first hour with 283 clicks to additional content.  We’ve been using Mail Chimp which is a great online service to manage your contacts and send out content to groups.  What Eve’s shown here is that as much as there is a front facing element which you see in the form of our newsletter, it’s taken us a while to integrate and develop the internal function to deliver this from honing our CRM to creating the space for staff to provide content and links.  We’re now finally getting into the swing of it.

So, with Eve, our data and comms whizz in the studio, we’re watching the data patterns and learning what works, what doesn’t and what people are interested in.  The data we’re getting is incredibly valuable in designing what kind of content goes out and how we frame it.

So version 1.1, not a huge update functionally but we’re integrating a Mail Chimp sign up function for our newsletter so we can go to where our audiences are, their inbox.

Up next we’re planning an overview of the core pillars of what Snook does which we’ve discussed at length on how to breakdown but that’s a whole blog post in itself.

I hope you’ll sign up to our Newsletter, I’m very proud personally of the company and my team who work hard across a diverse breadth of projects on a daily basis to share it with the world.

I give you version 1.1 of Open Snook.