Pandering To Pride – Nothing To Be Proud Of

With June marking 50 years since the New York Stonewall Riots that changed the course of LGBTQ+ history, Pride 2019 gained a lot of extra traction & so too, did the brands aligning themselves with the event. Pride has become bigger business than ever before. Research by Reboot Online reveals that 29 percent of companies running a Pride campaign in 2019 have never done so previously. It also discloses that only 64 percent of companies running a Pride campaign donate to an LGBTQ+ charity – a damning revelation which confirms skeptics’ concerns over increasing commercialization of the Pride movement.

Why Is This Important/A Cause For Concern?

Asad Dhunna, Director of Communications for Pride in London answers this question succinctly:

“In the time we live in and with the far right on the rise, we need brands to move the conversation from one day a year to 365.”

Life & Death

Although the decriminalization of anti-sodomy laws is trending upwards globally, there are still 11 countries that prescribe the death penalty for homosexuality. And despite tireless campaigning by transgender rights activists, it was only in June 2018 that the World Health Organisation (WHO) re-categorized being transgender from a “mental disorder” to a sexual health condition.
Such examples illustrate why ‘Pride’ should be viewed as much more than a parade for brands to tap into, as the cause which underpins the parade deals with issues of life and death.


A business case can be made for cause-based marketing – despite the risk involved. A study conducted by the Data and Marketing Association last year found 86% of consumers said authenticity was important when deciding what brands they like and support.

Trust/Woke Washing

At this year’s Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, Unilever CEO Alan Jope discussed how “woke-washing” — the practice of brands launching purpose-driven campaigns, but failing to take real action — threatens to “infect” the advertising industry:

“It threatens to further destroy trust in our industry, when it’s already in short supply”

His statement is borne out by Edelman’s 2019 Trust Barometer Special Report. Although consumers long for brands to be socially responsible, they are not naive, so while 81 percent of consumers admitted to considering brand trust in their purchasing decisions, only 34 percent actually trust the brands they buy from. Furthermore, 53 percent of consumers suspect that brands “trustwash,” or aren’t as committed to society as they profess.

As brand trust is having more influence on consumers’ purchase decisions, adoption of ad blockers is also on the increase, making the delivery of marketing messages more challenging. Against such a backdrop, building trust with consumers should not be taken lightly by brands.

How It Should Be Done



When a Twitter user expressed disappointment with the deodorant brand for not supporting a Straight Pride Parade in Boston as follows:

“Good to know you don’t support straight people. How very uninclusive and intolerant of you. My straight son and my straight partner have decided to no longer use your products, since you don’t support them. I’m glad, because I think @Axe smells like garbage. #stayoutofpolitics”

Axe didn’t hesitate to respond to the keyboard warrior:

“Gay rights are human rights but go off jill”

For brands to be perceived as credible, invested supporters of a community they must be seen to be engaging with relevant issues consistently, even when there’s no prospect of financial gain.


Ben & Jerry’s

The ice cream brand demonstrated a commitment to LGBTQ+ issues & incorporated these into their marketing in a meaningful way. Firstly, they re-branded two of their flavors in support of same-sex marriage. Chubby Hubby was renamed Hubby Hubby, to coincide with the legalization of same-sex marriage in Vermont. Similarly, their apple pie flavored ice cream was re-branded as Apple-y Ever After when same-sex marriage was up for debate in the U.K.
Secondly,  when in 2017, Australia opted not to legalize same-sex marriage, the brand took a stand by refusing to sell same-flavour double scoops in stores in the country.

ice cream cone


This year the drinks brand is bringing volunteers from Soho Angels (an initiative it sponsors all year round, which enlists a team of specially trained volunteers to keep the LGBTQ+ community safe at night) to Pride to safeguard onlookers.



Stephen Brown – global marketing manager – advises brands to simply:

“Take it out of season

He uses the example of a classic product launch to make his point:

“If you’re launching a product and there are two people kissing within that product shot, do they have to be straight? It’s very simple, it’s just representation rather than it’s a gay advert.”

Absolut Kiss Campaign Image


The Sincerity Problem

As with other high-profile movements, some brands view World Pride Month as an opportunity to display their ‘woke’ credentials and prove their commitment to more than their bottom line. But therein lies the rub. By engaging with sensitive topics outside their usual remit, advertisers open themselves up to accusations of insincerity and virtue signalling.
At the heart of the commercialization of Pride lies a disconnect, the crux of which is that brands promoting gay pride & the LGBTQ+ community or purporting to do so are not always consistent in actually lending support to the causes they align themselves with, despite profiting by association.


In the wider sense, the practice of donating money to LGBTQ+ charities is a positive thing. But this consumerist donation structure also engenders slacktivism, whereby brands and consumers alike can lend support to social and political causes in a non-committal fashion.

Similarly, the money that companies make selling products to consumers seeking an easy way to help with a complex issue rarely results in tangible change – excluding profit for the companies themselves. Likewise, some companies who are promoting LGBTQ+ Pride — and ostensibly cashing in on Pride merchandise or retail — don’t display much follow through, aside from perpetuating the vague notion of “awareness” around issues that affect that community.

Brands Which Missed The Mark



As part of a partnership with British LGBTQ+ charity Stonewall, the clothing company designed a range of Pride merchandise which allocated 20% of proceeds to the charity – not Pride. This move garnered criticism, leading many to ask why cash-strapped local Pride organisers were being overlooked. Steve Taylor, the co-founder of the UK Pride Network also highlighted the inherent hypocrisy of the brand manufacturing the shirts in Turkey and Bangladesh – countries where LGBTQ+ rights are heavily suppressed, and homosexuality is illegal.


Adidas devoted a section of its website to sales of rainbow merchandise called the “pride pack”. But it was also a lead sponsor for the 2018 World Cup, which took place in Russia, a country with anti-LGBTQ+ laws which made it unsafe for fans and athletes. That contradiction threw into sharp relief the emptiness that can lie at the center of corporate gestures of “support” for the LGBTQ+ community.

boys playing football at world cup

Boys kicking Adidas Telstar 18, the official match ball of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, during the opening of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Park in Moscow’s Red Square. Alexander Ryumin/TASS via Getty Images


Costa Coffee

Despite replacing their signature red cups with limited edition rainbow versions to ‘celebrate’ Pride, Costa will not be donating any profits to LGBTQ+ charities, nor does their campaign have a meaningful message to do with Pride or LGBTQ+ efforts. This is an example of profiting from rather than celebrating Pride.



Such instances of blatant opportunism have resulted in a backlash. Dissatisfied with the Pride March descending from a political protest into a bloated parade, a segment of the gay community has organized a competing procession for the same day called the Queer Liberation March, modeled on the first gay rights parade that came in the wake of the 1969 police raid at the Stonewall Inn in Manhattan.

The upstart march has the support of 150 gay and other advocacy organizations and is attracting participants who believe that the Pride March no longer speaks to the urgent needs of the LGBTQ+ community, said Bill Dobbs of the Reclaim Pride Coalition, which is organizing the alternative march.

Consumer Support/Complexity

Perhaps the most complex problem with supporting the LGBTQ+ community is knowing where to lend support. There isn’t one clear goal as myriad objectives vie for attention & funding. The commercialization of Pride Month further complicates this situation by reducing the complex landscape of LGBTQ+ issues to an easy-to-support — and therefore easier to sell — concept of “awareness.”

Accessible Web Design – Something To POUR Over

colourized image of shoulder dislocation

“The power of the Web is in its universality. Access by everyone regardless of disability is an essential aspect.”

 – Tim Berners-Lee, W3C Director and inventor of the World Wide Web.

As the above quote from Tim Berners-Lee illustrates, accessibility, far from being a pc fad, in fact underpins the very invention of the world wide web. In order for the web to honour its founding principle of universality, it must be accessible to a wide range of people, including those with visual, motor, auditory, speech, or cognitive disabilities. The web holds a specific appeal to such groups because of its potential to radically change the impact of disability – by removing barriers to communication and interaction presented by the physical world. However, when web sites, applications, technologies, or tools are badly designed, then barriers arise mirroring the exclusion of the physical world.

Accessibility, therefore, is essential for developers and organizations that want to create high quality websites and web tools, which do not exclude people from using their products and services. The web must be accessible to provide equal access and equal opportunity to people with diverse abilities. Indeed, the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities recognizes access to information and communications technologies, including the Web, as a basic human right.



The first step towards achieving accessibility is to carry out a site audit. To help you assess the accessibility of your site, there are tools such as the AXE Chrome Extension.


Business Case

Over 1 billion people worldwide suffer from a disability. In 2017, there were 814 website accessibility lawsuits filed in federal and state courts. Thus, a strong business case can be built for accessibility. Accessibility overlaps with other best practices such as mobile web design, device independence, multi-modal interaction, usability, design for older users, and search engine optimization (SEO). Furthermore, case studies show that accessible websites have better search results, reduced maintenance costs, and increased audience reach.

Aside from complying with legal requirements, it’s in everybody’s interest to design accessible websites. Obviously, it’s beneficial to people with disabilities if your website is navigable. Beyond this however, web accessibility can deliver benefits to businesses themselves and a range of users. Beyoncé knowles all about it – sorry, couldn’t resist – with her own website on the receiving end of a lawsuit on grounds of accessibility. Businesses wishing to avoid such cases of discrimination and accompanying legal action should implement web accessibility standards such as the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). It’s also possible to obtain a Letter of Reasonable Accessibility testifying that your website has been audited & met the required standards for accessibility for people with disabilities.

Disabilities manifest in many ways. The U.S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that 1 in 4 U.S. adults is living with a disability. Businesses that neglect accessibility when designing their websites, do so at their own peril. According to the Click-Away Pound survey, UK retailers lost an estimated £11.75 billion in 2016 because people with disabilities were unable to purchase their products online. Therefore, complying with accessibility practices is not just altruistic & sensible in reducing exposure to legal consequences, it also makes business sense. Moreover, accessibility modifications such as transcripts and closed captions, support for mobile devices & a clear design benefit all users, not just those who require them due to a disability.


Tips For Achieving Accessibility

  1. Add enough color contrast

People who have low vision could find it difficult to read text from a background color if it has low contrast. In a fact sheet on visual impairment and blindness, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that there are 217 million people who suffer from moderate to severe vision impairment. So, it is critical to consider the sufficient contrast between text and backgrounds. The contrast ratio between text and its background should be at least 4.5 to 1 (conformance level AA.) The ratios narrow with larger and heavier fonts, as they’re easier to read at lower contrast. If your type is at least 18 pt or 14 pt bold, the minimum contrast ratio drops to 3 to 1.

Tools: For Mac users, the Contrast app, checks contrast using a color picker. For a more detailed score enter colour values onto the WebAIM color contrast checker. This calculates the score for regular and larger text sizes in different conformance levels (A, AA, AAA.) You can change the color values and see the results in real time.

  1. Don’t use color alone to stress information

Relying on color alone as a visual cue prohibits people with low visual acuity or color blindness from understanding content. Instead it’s best to use an indicator other than color such as text labels or patterns. When showing errors on the screen, don’t rely on colored text alone, add an icon or include a title to the message. Consider adding a visual cue such as font weight or underline text style to linked text.

Elements with more complex information like charts and graphs can be especially hard to read when only colour is used to distinguish the data. Other visual aids like shape, labels, and size communicate information more effectively. You can also try incorporating patterns into fills to make differences more apparent. A great example of this guideline is Trello’s colorblind mode. When turned on, labels become more accessible by adding texture.

Tool: The App Color Oracle, shows in real time what people with common color vision impairments see.

  1. Design usable focus states

Focus Indicators are the blue outlines around links, inputs, and buttons. Browsers, by default, use a CSS pseudo class to show these outlines on elements when they’re selected. Focus indicators clarify which element has keyboard focus. This helps users understand where they are when navigating a site. These are used by people who are blind and require screen readers, individuals with limited mobility, individuals who have suffered injuries like carpal tunnel, and power users who prefer this type of navigation.

Elements that should be focusable are links, form fields, widgets, buttons, and menu items. They need to have a focus indicator that makes them look different from the elements around them. States should be highly visible, with good contrast, so they stand out from other content.

  1. Use labels or instructions with form fields and inputs

Using placeholder text as labels is one of the biggest mistakes when designing a form. Placeholder text is usually gray and has low contrast, so it’s hard to read. Those dependent on screen readers tend to navigate through a form using the Tab key to jump through the form controls. The <label> elements are read for each form control. Any non-label text, as placeholder text, is usually skipped over. It’s best if labels don’t disappear, even when the person is filling an input otherwise people may lose context.

  1. Useful alternative text

Users with impaired vision often rely on screen readers to “hear” the web. Since these tools convert text to speech, apt descriptions of visual elements are vital.

Two ways to present alternative text:

  • Within the <alt> attribute of the image element.
  • Within context or surroundings of the image itself.

Try to describe what’s happening in the image, and its pertinence to the story. If the image is purely decorative or if it creates redundancy because the surrounding context already explains the content, then adding an empty <alt> attribute will make screen readers skip it. Neglecting to write any alt text can result in some screen readers reading the file name to the user!

  1. Use correct markup on content

Headings mark where content starts — they’re tags given to text to define its style and purpose. Headings also establish the hierarchy of the page’s content. Titles with large font sizes help readers better understand the content order. Likewise, screen readers also use heading tags to read content. This way, people with low-vision get an overview of the page by reading each heading in a hierarchical flow.

It’s important to use proper structural elements when developing a site. HTML elements communicate to browsers what kind of content a site contains and how they should render or treat it. The components and structure of a page are what arranges an accessibility tree, which powers screen readers.

Neglecting to markup correctly affects accessibility. Screen readers navigate web pages by heading structure (true headers, not just text that is styled big and bold) hierarchically. Site users can listen to a list of all of the headings, jump the content by types of titles, or navigate directly to top-level headings <h1>.

  1. Support keyboard navigation

Keyboard accessibility is one of the most critical aspects of web accessibility. People with motor disabilities, blind people that rely on screen readers, people that don’t have precise muscle control, and even power users are dependent on a keyboard to navigate content.

People typically use the Tab key on their keyboards to navigate through interactive elements on a web page: links, buttons, or input fields. The focus state provides a visual indicator of the component that is currently selected. As you navigate through a page, the order of the interactive elements is essential, and the navigation must be logical and intuitive. The tab order should follow the visual flow of the page: left to right, top to bottom, header, main navigation, content buttons and inputs, and finally the footer.

Good practice dictates testing your site only using a keyboard. Use the Tab key to move through links and forms. Test using the Enter key to select an element. Verify that all the interactive components are predictable and in order. The goal should be to navigate through all your site without a mouse.

Be conservative with navigation size — including number of links and text length. Tabbing through long menus may be demanding for people with motor disabilities. Listening to lengthy links can be laboursome for people that use screen readers. Providing ARIA landmarks or HTML5 structural elements like <main> or <nav> will make navigation easier.



One of the benefits of accessibility, from a humanistic perspective, is that it ensures disabled users aren’t shut out. However, improved accessibility on your site provides you with a lot of benefits as well. Crucially, it immediately expands your potential audience. The more users are able to use your site, the more your potential user base grows. This can create an advantage over competitors who ignore accessibility.

Improved SEO

Steps necessary to make your site accessible – such as providing meaningful alternate text for images and using a proper and clear heading structure – dovetail with SEO best practices, therefore by improving your site’s accessibility you also increase the page ranking of your website!

Improved User Experience

In the process of making your site accessible, you design an interface which is operable and consistent, which improves overall user experience.

Improved Mobile User Experience

Another byproduct of building a fully accessible web application is an application/website that works well for smartphones.


Web Accessibility should not be an afterthought; instead, it should be made part of your standard development practices. Make your development and QA teams aware of commonly used Web Accessibility guidelines: WCAG 2.0 ( and US Govt. Section 508 ( are 2 very common guidelines for compliance.


Companies taking initiative/leading the way

WordPress has its own Make WordPress Accessible team that focuses specifically on the platform. Wix also prompts users to follow steps towards accessible design. There are also countless other community-driven projects, such as A11Y, that provide guidance and resources to help you create highly accessible websites.


Web Content Accessibility Guidelines

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0, a set of guidelines and best practices put together by accessibility experts to address what “accessibility” means in a methodical way.

WCAG is organized around four principles ocalled by the acronym POUR:

  • Perceivable: Can users perceive the content? This helps us keep in mind that just because something is perceivable with one sense, such as sight, that doesn’t mean that all users can perceive it.
  • Operable: Can users use UI components and navigate the content? For example, something that requires a hover interaction cannot be operated by someone who can’t use a mouse or touch screen.
  • Understandable: Can users understand the content? Can users understand the interface and is it consistent enough to avoid confusion?
  • Robust: Can the content be consumed by a wide variety of user agents (browsers)? Does it work with assistive technology, such as screen readers that vocalize the text on each page, speech recognition software that converts speech into text, Braille terminals, and even alternative keyboards that accommodate special needs.?


To discover how we can help you incorporate accessibility into the design process, check out the Design section of our site, or get in touch with us for a detailed proposal.


Against Or For Berlin’s Glorified Pissoirs?

pop up confirmation

Anyone familiar with editing spreadsheets is used to being confronted by the popup “Are you sure you want to delete this column?”. In Berlin this question has recently taken on much more real world significance. The city’s iconic Litfaßsäule are under threat of permanent removal on grounds of fading structural integrity & threats to public safety. Their fate impacts the marketing world & acts as a barometer of the public’s opinion.

Berlin is a mass of contradictions – tech hub but dependent on cash; liberal in many respects but conservative in others. Reactions to the peril of these columns bears this out – some Berliners want them to stay – either in a modified way with digital signage or as original. Others are in favour of their swift removal.

In a city where traditional advertisements in subway stations are still highly effective, maintenance of the columns certainly has business merit.


Ernst Litfaß was a successful printer & publisher. The inspiration for the iconic columns which bear his name, struck him during a trip to Paris in 1843. While answering Nature’s call, Litfaß had an epiphany – in the circular pissoir, covered with advertisements before him, Ernst saw an opportunity. In stereotypical adherence to German sense of orderliness, Litfaß envisaged a series of columns that would both tidy up Berlin’s scattered advertisements & profit from them too.


Advertising on the columns enables clients to reach a wider target audience. The columns’ ubiquity in the city means that inhabitants can’t help but see them & associate them with publicity for upcoming events. Furthermore, Litfaßsäulen appear throughout Berlin, not just the city centre, thereby extending advertising reach to the suburbs. Also, in comparison to digital marketing, advertising on the columns is relatively inexpensive.


Historical Significance

One of the initial appealing facets of the columns was their ability to deliver news more quickly than newspapers, which took longer to be printed, which led people to gather ’round them to read the latest news bulletins. This took on greater significance in 1870 with the outbreak of the Franco-German war. Litfaß convinced the city leadership to utilise the columns to communicate the latest news from the front to concerned citizens.


We share Litfaß’ innovative approach to marketing problems, so we will be watching very carefully how things play out in Berlin. For more information on our process don’t hesitate to get in touch.


Digital Prophets and Innovation Sherpas – Too Pretentious For Prosperous.


From the outset, as the tagline on our website states, our focus has been on “Applying Digital Marketing Expertise To Your Business’’ not in applying pretentious digital marketing titles to our roles!


In recent years, the proliferation of pretentious titles (often self-appointed) of so called experts in the digital marketing world, has served to both deceive clients and debase the industry. Such titles are deliberately vague, giving the client little or no information on what exactly the “expertise’’ provided by Digital Prophets, Entrepreneurs-In- Residence, Innovation Sherpas, Brand Warriors, Mobile Senseis et al will accomplish. For clients, being presented with such titles is akin to being bombarded with marketing jargon from consultants.


This phenomenon is not just irksome to clients, but also to those of us who have been working in digital marketing from its inception. The shoddy practices of these philistines undermines the years of hard work we’ve been doing for valued clients in the digital marketing realm.


Let the record show that as far as the team at Prosperous Marketing are concerned, though we acknowledge that part of our remit is to guide clients through the peaks and troughs of the digital marketing world, that does not mean we will invent titles for ourselves – we still regard Sherpas as native to the most mountainous regions of Nepal and the Himalayas. Likewise, though we will make strategic recommendations and predictions based on data, we are keenly aware that these do not constitute prophecies!


If you are interested in sound digital marketing advice from an experienced team with titles which relate to the work they do, then don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Urbane Planning In The Digital Age

plan quote on napkin

Many companies struggle with adapting their marketing strategies to the digital landscape. This is completely understandable when one considers the number of new apps we are bombarded with every day. This is why urbane planning of your firm’s marketing efforts is of the utmost importance.

The Plan
Evaluation of where your current & previous activities have been lacking will inform how you develop your plan for your digital marketing strategy. This is actually the first step carried out by the team at Prosperous when engaged by clients to execute a digital plan for their marketing. The development and delivery of such a plan is one of our four services precisely because we recognize what an essential component this is to successful digital marketing.

From this basis we develop a sophisticated marketing plan tailored specifically to your business objectives. We demystify digital marketing trends and success factors as they pertain to your business and always endeavour to keep things simple – we dislike buzzwords and marketing jargon as much as you!

At the end of the process clients receive a detailed quotation for the implementation of an urbane digital marketing plan that will add value to their business.

To learn more about how our planning service can benefit your company’s marketing performance enquire now.

For more general queries about Prosperous Marketing and our other services don’t hesitate to contact us.

A Design For Digital Life

Design on tablet

Design – of both brand work and websites – is one of the four core services we have been offering clients for over 25 years. It is a heavily collaborative process (client input at every stage is vital) which begins by identifying the core aim.

At Prosperous we have honed our specific design process through engaging with a range of clients spanning varying industries and with diverse goals. This wealth of experience enables our team of experts to deliver bespoke design solutions for clients which always deliver on their core aim.


The Process

Our approach to design always commences with in-depth research on the client’s target market and identification of the project’s key goals. Once these initial steps are complete, we move on to the production of a draft design vision to show our concept for the solution, which forms a basis for discussion and feedback.

The Concept

Once client feedback has been taken on board, the concept is then carefully fleshed out into a full design. Regardless of whether the design takes the form of a logo or website, it is always shared with the client in private mode, allowing them to provide final feedback. We then collate these observations, make appropriate revisions and present the client with the final design to be signed-off.


Well designed websites and branding materials offer much more than aesthetic benefits when aligned with a strategic core aim. They can not only attract more visitors to your site, but also help people to understand the product or service your business is offering. If you would like to create a website or branding material that chimes with a strategic business aim, then contact us today for a quote.

5 Ways to Revamp Your Marketing Strategy in 2018

words cut out

Even if 2017 was a bumper year for your firm from a marketing perspective, it is still advisable to assess, rethink and tweak your marketing strategy for 2018. This can sometimes be difficult to do objectively which is precisely why we created our triage service. We can help you to take a step back and identify what worked and what missed the mark and then help you to develop a strategy to revamp things.

1. Data analysis
In order to revamp your marketing strategy you must have access to the information which elucidates exactly what did & didn’t work. Retrieve all relevant analytics data, as this will influence your decision making process for 2018.

2. Benchmark against competitors
Take note of what competitors in your area or industry are doing, particularly any evident changes they may have made in comparison to last year. Identify where they are picking up the best results and consider whether this could also work for you.

3. Conduct an audit
Failure is not always due to a poorly chosen idea or strategy but rather owing to its execution. Try to identify which elements of unsuccessful campaigns contributed to their failure. For example, if the budget had been increased for a certain area would that have positively influenced the results? Carrying out an audit of your current marketing strategy is essential to improving performance moving forward. This can be as simple as creating a spreadsheet listing all your communication channels and determining which may need to be updated.

4. What’s new in 2018
Research on what’s changed on various platforms will shape how you craft your marketing strategy for the forthcoming year. For example, both Facebook and Instagram have made major changes in 2018 which directly effect marketing planning. You need to be adaptable and informed enough to make necessary adjustments.

5. Video Marketing
This trend from 2017 is set become more pervasive in 2018. Video content is a focal point of Facebook’s recent algorithm updates. Trying to capitalize on Snapchat’s USP Facebook has launched its own “Stories” feature – likewise for Instagram. Video content has the potential to provide companies and brands with stronger organic reach and engagement than other forms of content. Therefore its importance cannot be ignored for anyone serious about bettering their marketing strategy this year.

Regardless of how you fared in 2017, there are clear learning points to be taken from the past year which can positively influence your marketing activities in 2018. Don’t hesitate to contact us for advice and assistance with formulating and executing a revised strategy.

Team Building – More Than An Activity for Christmas Parties

suited folk faking happiness

At this time of year, many workers are compelled to take part in team building activities as an element of their office Christmas parties. Although such exercises are well intentioned, they often lack thorough planning and can be one-off events. The risk in limiting such initiatives to annual events is that instead of fostering or improving team relations, participants’ competitive nature is stoked. That’s not to say that isolated team building exercises can’t be beneficial, they simply require a clear purpose, such as improving a particular skill or addressing certain weaknesses or problems and ought to be designed to avoid conflict. The danger is that they can be perceived as merely a nice day out of the office and sometimes can do more harm than good. Poorly planned events can even be embarrassing, or physically and emotionally uncomfortable, for participants.

As the trend towards tacking on team building outings to festive celebrations continues to grow (venues such as escape rooms are increasingly in demand), we thought it pertinent to highlight the potential in these ventures and illustrate the advantage to replicating this impulse throughout the year. Hopefully, the following will incentivize you to use this year’s office party as a platform to integrate team building into your corporate culture in 2018 and beyond.


Even high-performing teams can benefit from team building exercises. They’re a means to improve communication, morale, motivation and productivity. More generally, they can assist employees in better getting to know one another and learning their strengths and weaknesses – something that is increasingly important for virtual teams. Team building activities can be used by businesses of any size to promote better teamwork in the workplace. Such endeavours are not just beneficial to individual employees but also directly contribute to a company’s success.

Team building activities are typically broken down into 4 categories:

  • Communication activities
  • Problem solving/Decision making activities
  • Adaptability/Planning activities
  • Trust building activities

The core idea or ruse is to convince participants perform various activities that are both fun and challenging which have also have the side effect of building teamwork skills, which improve employee performance and productivity when in a professional capacity. 

On an ongoing basis companies can opt to continue team building through structured activities and exercises that employees themselves can lead. Or, with the proper budget and goals, managers can contract out for facilitation with an external resource. The latter is often the more popular choice. An external facilitator works with a group of employees to design the team building activities or sessions. These are most effective when they are customized to the group’s needs. Sessions can include ice breakers, discussion topics, games, cooperative assignments, and group brainstorming. It is imperative that events are integrated into everyday work so the results continue following the event.



When planning team building activities, it is important to first identify your team’s strengths and weaknesses. Begin by asking questions designed to identify the root of any problems. Based on the answers received, next choose targeted activities to help your team to address any problems. Team members also have recourse to many Team Effectiveness Assessment available online, as group exercises.


As more and more people work remotely, effective management of virtual teams is a necessary skill. It can be challenging to build rapport among team members who rarely, if ever, meet face-to-face. Time zones and cultural differences can present additional challenges when considering team building activities or strategies for remote teams. Remote team members are likely to feel isolated from their colleagues, and as such are primed to welcome opportunities for socializing “virtually,” improving their skills. Articles abound online offering practical suggestions on the topic of Virtual Team Building Exercises. 

At it’s root team building is concerned with providing the skills, training and resources required for employees to work in harmony. But, to be truly effective, it must be a continual process embedded into team and organisational culture. When teams exhibit energy loss, decreased motivation and dips in morale, team building activities and strategies can help get people back on track. Sporadic team building exercises are one way to strengthen the bonds within your team, but they are not a shortcut to success. Rather it is imperative to make team building part of the organisational group’s mindset. In contrast, exercises that are well thought out and expertly run can unite people, enhance their strengths, and address their weaknesses. They encourage more cohesive and satisfied teams which bodes well for success.


As a result of being associated with office parties, team building exercises have developed a somewhat tarnished reputation. Consequently, in order to generate interest from employees, management will need to convince employees that they are not wasting their time. It is worthwhile to take measures to detect such resistance and to encourage participation. Open discussion, to explore people’s feelings about prospective events, and to turn sceptics into motivated participants, will yield dividends.

So as you get into the festive spirit and prepare to attend an escape room under duress, we encourage you to remember that team building at its best can be about uniting and encouraging people rather than dividing and demoralizing them.  Although competitive exercises inevitably produce losers as well as winners, and may lead team members to work against one another, it’s worth bearing the points above in mind and striving to integrate team building initiatives into your corporate culture in the New Year. For true team building encourages collaboration rather than competition. (read Our Story for inspiration from the collaborative Prosperous Team)

Continuous Learning in the Digital Age

ipad with educational diagram

The Prosperous Management team have long been advocates of Continuous Learning – both for ourselves & our clients. In addition to keeping abreast of industry changes & up-skilling, we highlight the importance of this mindset to those with whom we consult.  We pride ourselves on having created & maintaining a culture of continuous learning. This environment we’ve nourished based on a willingness to embrace change, facilitates this cultural shift – which is not only a prerequisite to growth but also to us consulting with a potential client. As consultants to clients from varying industries, we are continuously exposed to learning opportunities by dint of the different projects we work on.

Learning & Development in the Digital Age

The modern phenomenon of the ”always-on” employee is generating new opportunities for learning and development (L&D), and organizations which are not primed to react accordingly risk becoming obsolete. Digitization has not only altered the way we work & communicate, but also how we learn. In the connected world, it behooves employers to leverage their employees’ network and experiences, if they are committed to fostering a culture of learning – which is vital to remaining competitive. Cloud, social and mobile technology now offer so many learning opportunities, that focused investment ought to be a L&D priority for businesses.

The Modern Learning Experience

Learning is becoming more byte sized and integrated into the work-space, and it is the agile organisations who embrace this change who will gain competitive advantage. Ease of use and access to engaging and relevant content are the hallmarks of the digital learning experience. As such, firms with a lack of informal learning opportunities inhibit the creation of a culture where learning is celebrated. Although informal learning opportunities and experiential learning are  perfectly suited to social and mobile platforms, many businesses are failing to utilize the full potential of these media effectively for L&D opportunities. Rather, they are dipping their toes in by limiting their activities to document sharing, discussion forums and blogs. Through such timidity, they are missing out on the enormous potential of social tools to leverage video. Likewise, microblogs stimulate peer-to-peer communication, which encourages employees to share information and learn from one another. Additionally, such informal channels facilitate team bonding and creative thinking.

Agility and Adaptation

Agility, in terms of adapting personally and professionally, is a requirement for success. This is especially true, with regard to shaping a team to adapt to the ever changing business environment. This is an unavoidable consequence of the current economic climate and any team lacking the flexibility to adapt or the will to keep up to date with the latest industry knowledge is doomed.

Investing in People

Establishing a culture of investing in people plays a vital role for companies which wish to focus on training current employees rather than incurring the costs associated with hiring new staff. It is more prudent to invest in retaining and developing a talent pool, which is precisely why fostering a continuous learning environment is so important, not just from an economic standpoint. Ensuring that employees are well trained & up to date empowers them to respond to the company’s changing needs. Such measures imbue employees with a sense of trust and keep them engaged with, interested in and loyal to the company, since their skills-set is continually being expanded. So, as well as being more economical, continuous learning is a means for companies to reassure their employees that they merit investment.

Social Learning

Social learning and continuous learning are inextricably linked. Personal Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn feeds combine with posts in professional groups and forums to influence the way we learn, communicate and share knowledge. The stream of news and trends which characterizes this social web, is a means for people to continually learn without recourse to separate learning platforms.

Learning Programmes

Research bears out the need for and benefits of learning programmes. For example, Bersin by Deloitte’s research, reveals three times greater profit growth over a four-year period in companies that are high-impact learning organizations (HILOs). These HILOs have learning programs that are efficient, effective, and aligned to the top priorities of the business. It is essential before commencing with a learning programme to know what your business needs from such an endeavour. Identifying what needs to be measured to know if your learning program is yielding the results you want and expect is a vital first step. Once a clear purpose and expectations have been established, a culture of continuous learning and development can begin to be shaped. It is advisable to include a mix of formal, informal, and on-the-job development opportunities. Also, basic training courses to acquaint staff with software and tools are recommended. It’s more beneficial for individuals and organizations to provide learning opportunities and content that is specific to competencies that participants wish to develop.

To learn more about the culture of continuous learning at Prosperous Management or to find out how our experienced consultants can help you to develop and hone such an environment in your business, contact us today.




Triage – From French Battlefields To The World Of Digital Marketing

What connects Prosperous Marketing to Napoleon’s army?

This may seem like an unusual question to pose at the beginning of this article. Admittedly, at first glance, parallels between Napoleon’s army and Prosperous Marketing aren’t self evident (excluding quips about Napoleon complexes). However, upon closer inspection the two are in fact linked. The answer to the above question derives from the work of the chief surgeon in Napoleon’s Army – Dominique Jean Larrey.

Larrey invented the concept of Triage (which means to ‘separate’ in French). This process, developed on nineteenth century French battlefields, involved separating patients into one of three categories:

– Those likely to live regardless of the care they received

– Those unlikely to live regardless of the care they received

– Those for whom immediate care might make a difference

Larrey ordered his medics to categorize patients upon arrival and then focus on the final group, regardless of rank or nationality. This radical approach, which focused finite medical resources where they made the biggest difference, saved thousands of lives.

As outlined above, Triage can be defined as:

  1. The assignment of degrees of urgency to wounds or illnesses to decide the order of treatment of a large number of patients or casualties.
  2. The process of determining the most important people or things from among a large number that require attention:

(Definition source:

The second definition is the most pertinent to Prosperous Marketing. Analogous to a hospital with more sick people than staff, businesses can be described as having an infinite number of marketing objectives that need attention, with a finite number of employees to take care of them. These objectives stem from goals or problems, varying in urgency. Our experts can help businesses to prioritize these objectives and focus limited resources accordingly.

After Napoleon’s defeat Larrey was captured by the Prussians and would have faced execution were it not for being recognized as the famous surgeon who had saved the life of the son of the Prussian General Blucher. Blucher’s son had been severely injured and captured by the French a few years earlier. Larrey, true to the principles of Triage, had attended to the young Prussian officer, rather than a Frenchman in a less precarious condition.

Now, we are not saying that our Triage service will save your life, but it may grant your business a stay of execution. Learn more about our approach to Triage here and simply enquire to receive a quote.