How One CEO Makes His Innovation Pay

The below article was written by Ian Finch the CEO of Mando and details his experience working with ForrestBrown. ForrestBrown is one of the UK’s largest teams of chartered tax advisers specialising in research and development (R&D) tax on your side.

It is pretty crowded in digital agency land. This makes differentiation essential. You differentiate on your value proposition, which for us is innovation.

Our innovation encompasses market trends and blue-sky thinking, but also day-to-day changes you would categorise as continuous improvement.

This means that about 20% of our business plan is innovation. It’s part of our DNA and we are highly focused on how we unleash it.

How can we push the state of the art? How can we train our staff to be innovative? Does it run through our methodologies? How do we make it pay and manage the risk?

The Risks Of Innovation

There is always risk associated with innovation, as by its nature you are stepping into the unknown. Whenever we take on business we ask, what is the core part of the work? And where is innovation required? We then assess the innovative aspects, based on risk.

R&D tax credits afford us another lever by which we can carry this risk. If we think the idea is good, knowing that the government is encouraging us to push the boundaries really helps. Factoring in R&D tax credits allow us more room in which to accept work that we might otherwise not be able to take on.

Innovation To Be Proud Of

It is often the innovative projects that are most satisfying. Work that you can stand back from and feel proud.

And when I look at our innovation, I see a split between what you might call incremental innovation and game-changing innovation. Both are important.

An example of incremental innovation that I am really proud of is the recent work we have done for an electricity company. They required an alert map that would report on the location of power outages. Now, this is not new in itself. But the innovative mobile-first system we developed brought a number of existing technologies together in a new way.

Using technologies including Google Maps and Episerver, we developed a new system that optimised performance during a blackout and was triple A compliant. With this completed, we then built on those learnings and delivered a second project that went even further. This shows how innovation can come in stages.

By contrast, you also get these seismic shifts in technology that disrupt markets. Our push into AI has been interesting here. An example of this type of innovation that we have worked on is with chatbots. We explored how we could use chatbots to massively improve the customer experience for a utility company. In transferring this AI technology from one sector to another it had a hugely positive effect.

The Power Of R&D Tax Credits

It is incredibly helpful that, when a client asks for something state of the art, we have the support of R&D tax credits. Agencies live and die by the quality of their work. When you are operating right at the cutting edge, you are dealing with the unknown. This means that problems arise that can seriously affect budgets, jeopardising the entire project.

Knowing that R&D tax credits are available extends that window of opportunity to get the project over the line and make a real difference.

R&D tax credits are a government incentive designed to promote private sector innovation. They’re worth up to 33p for every £1 spent and for us have resulted in a cash boost, worth hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Without this support, a project is more likely to end in failure, or for the costs to spiral making it run at a loss. Either one of these negative outcomes is not good for the long-term prospects of a digital agency.

Sometimes, including details of innovation in a pitch is the key for beating competitors. In one recent pitch we developed a whole proof of concept for an AI solution. It was this that stood us apart from the others. Again, knowing that R&D tax credits are there to give us a hand with this, helps spark the initial innovation.

ForrestBrown: The Best In The Business

ForrestBrown are our R&D tax credit tax advisers, and we think they are the best in the business. We are speaking from a position of knowledge and experience because we have worked with more than one other adviser.

Our old accountant simply said that R&D tax credits were not applicable to us. What a mistake that was! So, we started working with another adviser and made a small claim.

Fortunately, later I met Lisa-Marie Smith, a director at ForrestBrown, at an event. And after talking to her and understanding the heavyweight expertise ForrestBrown have, we invited them to review our claims.

ForrestBrown went on to identify the full scale of our innovation resulting in a benefit worth three times what we were previously claiming. As you can imagine, this has made a huge different to our business.

Better still they were much easier to work with. Their approach to the claim meant that there was far less effort required on our side. This means that we can focus our resources on the work we do for our clients.

Making Innovation Pay

Whether it comes in a step change or is incremental, innovative solutions are essential for us and our clients. Having the support of the R&D tax credit scheme and the expert advice of ForrestBrown helps us stay at the cutting edge. They help us to work with a far greater degree of certainty that we’ll achieve a positive, profitable outcome.

Our advisers ForrestBrown, and Lisa-Marie Smith as mentioned above, will be exhibiting this year at Prolific North Live. You can come and chat to them on stand 5 and discuss how R&D tax credits can help fund your innovation.

Virtual Reality – The Innovative Game Changer

The below article originally appeared on hedgehog lab’s website, and was written by their Director of Immersive Technologies, Shaun Allan.

As part of our immersive strategy, my team and I spend most of our time researching technological advancements taking place across the globe. This is to ensure our clients – and indeed consumers – can make informed choices, particularly when it comes to talking to us about building stunning apps.

Recently, our focus has been on virtual reality (VR), which is set to be a game changer, shaping the future of things yet to come.

An early indication of the market’s potential, of course, was the takeover of Oculus VR by Facebook. Rift, the company’s headset, which is produced by Oculus VR, provides and engineers virtual reality. It is certain that Facebook won’t restrict such advanced technology to gamers. In fact, we predict its ultimate goal will be to grow its popularity among schools, healthcare, and entertainment, where it will sit alongside smartphones, tablets, and computers. Moreover, Facebook’s social VR infrastructure will have huge implications for collaborative working throughout the coming years.

In this blog, we will discuss a number of emerging opportunities which VR presents for enterprises prepared to take the road less travelled.

Treating Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in soldiers

PTSD is the most common symptom of clinical distress experienced by war veterans. Thankfully, VR can help with rehabilitation through creating virtual war zones and other simulations that allow subjects to face and overcome their fears within a safe, immersive environment.

Coaching Sports athletes

Imagine a technology that could help footballers improve their passing techniques. Sounds unbelievable, right? That was certainly my view until finding out about a programme tested at Stanford University in which VR was successfully used to boost overall performance. Similar techniques could also be applied to a wide array of other sports.

Assisting stroke patients to re-adapt

One major challenge often faced by stroke patients is loss of limb movement. Recent research, however, indicates that VR could assist in this regard. With the help of Microsoft Kinect sensors, stroke patients can control a virtual body that corresponds to their own, the experience encouraging them to use weaker limbs through ‘tricking’ them into believing they are more responsive than they are, thus improving motor performance.

Overcoming fears of public speaking

Many people experience some degree of ‘stage fright’, impairing their ability to speak publicly; according to a recent survey close to 2/5th of Americans suffer from the ‘stage fear’ syndrome. VR, however, can help such individuals gather the courage required to speak in front of an audience, with recent apps placing would-be speakers in packed-out virtual rooms, helping them prepare for the event itself.

Helping courtrooms deliver justice

Within courtrooms, VR has the potential to dramatically change the means by which justice is delivered through enabling immersive crime scene reconstructions. In this case, each side would likely present differing virtual environments, enabling jurors to get a clear image of the evidence they must assess.

Training dental scholars

Few, one assumes, would care to be ‘guinea pigs’ for trainee dentist’s wielding drills. Thankfully, the dental students can now make use of Virtual Reality, honing their skills on virtual ‘patients’ before working with real ones. VR apps built for the profession, in fact, are quite realistic, featuring subjects with distinct personalities and varied medical histories. As an expert from the Medical College of Georgia put it: “It’s anytime, anywhere education – a classroom without walls.”

As is evident from the video below, the potential of Virtual Reality is huge, offering unique benefits across a wide range of fields. In short, it can’t be ignored.

hedgehog lab is a multi-award winning technology consultancy, with offices in the UK, USA, India and Denmark. They will be exhibiting their innovative products at this year’s Prolific North Live on February 28th and March 1st. Register here to attend the event.

What is the True Value of Mixed Reality?

The below article originally appeared on hedgehog lab’s website, and was written by their Director of Immersive Technologies, Shaun Allan.

It’s no secret that at hedgehog lab we love immersive technology. And what’s not to love? If anyone can think of more a effective digital method for engaging customers… I’ll eat my virtual hat (and that’s a promise).

To date, most business use of this tech has focused on the tried and tested platforms of Virtual and Augmented Reality. But something that’s really got us excited is the less well-known yet infinitely versatile Mixed Reality, or MR. Which pretty much means the ultra-cool Microsoft HoloLens headset.

For those who aren’t familiar with Mixed Reality, this is a minimal, untethered unit controlled by gestures and voice commands that allow the user to interact with 3D objects and live data overlaid upon the real world.

Or in Microsoft’s own words: “Our vision for holographic computing is to transform the world with holograms – seamlessly connecting the digital world with real life. With the ability to design and shape holograms, you will have a new medium to express your creativity, a more efficient way to teach and learn, and a more effective way to visualise your work and share ideas.”

Powerful stuff. And, when I recently got chatting to Microsoft’s Mike Taulty and Pete Daukintis at a networking event, it struck us all that there was real potential for using this sort of tool in the automotive industry. Anya Bramich of electric vehicle consultancy Zero Carbon Futures agreed, and before too long we were able to launch a fascinating project together.

“Could MR hold the answer? Indeed it could.”

The thing with electric vehicles is: they need maintenance. And removing, repairing and replacing fuel cells on the Nissan Leaf isn’t – it turns out – a walk in a park. Could MR hold the answer? Indeed it could. By the end of a five-day hack, we were collectively able to develop an interactive experience on HoloLens that would take users through the process in a step-by-step manner.

The reaction we got from Zero Carbon Futures’ training and development manager Stephen Burr was glowing. In short, he saw it as a cost-effective, time saving solution that would make the training process easier. Not only that, but maintenance staff would be less dependant on others and wouldn’t have to travel anywhere to pick up the necessary skills.

The HoloLens itself, meanwhile, is a delightfully intuitive piece of kit, which centres on simple gestures that allow interaction with the holograms. Move your head and the cursor will move; raise and lower a finger quickly to a select a hologram; ‘tap and hold’; or make the bloom gesture – holding your fingertips together then releasing them – to go the menu. Simple. And top notch speakers mean you can easily pick up ‘virtual’ sounds without obscuring external noise.

It’s factors such as these that make us certain our project with Zero Carbon Futures and Microsoft- satisfying though it was – only represents the beginning of what we’ll be able to do with this technology.

We see MR being used in construction, medicine, retail, manufacturing, design, entertainment…  and pretty much any business reliant on information sharing.

It’s also worth pointing out that HoloLens 2.0 is on its way, and, as recently revealed by Microsoft, will include an AI co-processor. This will capable of locally managing and implementing Deep Neural Networks, essentially meaning the device itself will be able to analyse everything the user sees and hears, rather than wasting time sending data to the cloud for processing. The headset will therefore be able to recognise new visual information more quickly, creating significantly more impressive Mixed Reality interactions.

hedgehog labs will be exhibiting at this year’s Prolific North Live on February 28th to March 1st. To get your free ticket for the event, simply register here.

The Future of Programmatic Advertising: 6 Predictions for 2017

Programmatic advertising. The crunching of numerous sources of data to present the right ad, at the right time, to the right person. But with technology evolving so quickly, what does the future hold? We’ve looked at the numbers, asked the experts and analysed all the trends to bring you our 6 programmatic predictions for 2017.

1. Data collaboration is the next stage

In eCommerce, it’s common practice for businesses to internalise data in-house. But we predict that 2017 will see companies move towards data collaboration, with audience sharing going beyond intent data to include cross-device and UX behavioural insights, for example. As Ve Interactive’s Chief Data Officer, Cyrille Vincey, asserts,

“Many businesses, especially smaller ones, just don’t have enough data points to build an in-depth user profile. There’s too much internalisation of data that’s stopping us as an industry from truly knowing and reaching users. It goes against the current industry trend, but there needs to be more data collaboration. Businesses, advertisers and ultimately, users, have more to gain than to lose from sharing data.”

2. Programmatic TV will come of age

The manual nature of traditional TV advertising is one of its primary flaws. From requesting ad time and purchasing, to displaying the ad and measuring its success – the manual processes can be slow and tedious. Programmatic TV effectively alleviates these problems, with many brands vocally expressing their “appetite for programmatic”.
We predict that programmatic TV will finally take off in 2017, as the ad inventory available increases and big brands (such as Sky) continue to set the TV ad standard with successful campaigns.

3. Header bidding will become more accessible

Header bidding is one of the most technically sophisticated types of programmatic advertising. It’s grown particularly popular with publishers, but the process still faces a lot of challenges concerning usability and accessibility. We think 2017 will be the year that header bidding overcomes these issues as advertisers and publishers alike fully realise the benefits of this technology.

4. Personalisation and targeting will grow more sophisticated

Personalisation is a word that’s been thrown around perhaps too liberally in industry circles over the past few years. But personalising your programmatic offering to individual users is, without doubt, hugely important. Whilst we’ve seen some excellent examples of personalised programmatic this year, we expect that the level of depth and targeting will only grow in 2017.

5. Ad viewability will improve

Ad viewability is central in programmatic discussions, with many advertisers rightly concerned as to whether their ad impressions have actually been viewed by human eyes. The viewability industry standard is loosely estimated at 50%, but we expect this to improve over time. In an ideal world, we would see programmatic ad impressions have 100% viewability across the industry, but this might take a bit longer to achieve.

6. Last touch attribution will be a thing of the past

Debates and concerns surrounding attribution have existed as long as programmatic itself. But we think that the much-maligned last touch attribution model will finally die out in 2017. As Ve Interactive’s Head of UK Commercial Operations, AJ Hill, explains

“The days of last touch attribution are numbered. As an advertiser it is vitally important to understand the full user journey, from first contact to purchase, and to award each channel their proportionate attribution based on their overall impact on the campaign. Sophisticated algorithmic attribution models are being brought in currently and will be widespread in the coming year.”

Ve will be at Prolific North Live, visit them at stand 100 to enter their competition for the chance of winning their conversion enhancing solutions free for 6 weeks!

The original version of this article appeared previously on the Ve Interactive blog, written by Ellie Hubble – click here to read 11 more intriguing programmatic predictions for 2017!”


So you’ve read part one of our blog about the property industry using data, now it’s time for part two: data in the construction industry! If you haven’t read it you can find it here, but if you have – venture on, my friend. 

I’ll never forget when I was younger my dad teaching me how a dome structure is super strong. He gave me an egg straight from the little box and had me place my two hand on opposite sides of it and then try to break it by squeezing them together. It’s just not possible and I try every time I go to make eggs. So that was my first little insight into the construction industry and infrastructure.

So behind all the awesome projects and massive, technical infrastructures – how does data help behind the scenes?

I’m always hearing dad on the phone talking about the costs of a project. Getting the costs wrong of the tiniest nail or screw could actually bankrupt a company because the projects are that large.

The industry is lagging slightly with their use of data, however it is moving in the right direction – towards real-time, cloud powered analytics of massive, unorganised datasets. I’ve said before that data is the golden thread that ties departments together and this couldn’t be more true: creative architects, logical engineers and cost-aware owners can work together and ignore the previously tense relationships they had with each other as data can help them to develop and deliver projects which accommodate for all parties.

For far too long the process of procuring building and infrastructure assets has been carried out in separate, often unconnected, stages.  The advent of BIM (Business Information Modelling), which ensures people and information working together effectively and efficiently through defined processes and technology. It allows all organisations and people involved in the life of a project to realise significant benefits and reduce risk -and not just financial.  Significant time benefits can be achieved as well as reduced operation and maintenance needs and, in the case of occupied buildings, improved enjoyment for the people who live or work there.

John Jacobs, CIO for JE DUNN told Forbes that “that their new Big Data driven BIM (building information modelling) system is estimated to have reduced costs of one $60 million civic center construction project by $11 million, and cut the projected completion time by 12 weeks by drastically shortening the pre-construction phase”.

This type of system is a sure way to win tenders and bids for projects as not only are the savings huge but the completion time is drastically reduced – I know when my dad is bidding on projects for his company, he’s constantly looking for ways to reduce costs and ensure the project can be completed on or before the deadline.

External data plays a large part too, for example weather reports. Awful weather can delay building projects (the bane of all construction companies lives!) which then lead to increased expense. By being able to monitor the weather and using the data from previous year, more accurate assessments can be made to account for these obstacles.

Databases are constantly changing; they are never in a set state. As will all other industries, construction databases are no different. Regular cleansing keeps on top of the many changes that these massive datasets will be up to date and ensure marketing communications and reputations are upheld.

So that’s another snippet of data in the construction industry. The opportunities are huge if the data is utilised correctly, and it’s certainly an interesting relationship to keep an eye on in the near future.


Top 5 tips before you develop an app

1. Be Realistic

Before you head off down the road of app development, you first need to decide whether or not to start walking. To create a worthwhile application that is going to reach as many members of your target audience as possible, you need to invest. Perform a cost-benefit analysis before you start to determine if an app will really benefit you. Can you afford to spend the time creating it yourself? It may be worth your while to invest in an agency.
Of course, there are a great many benefits to having a well-designed and marketed app. Earlier this year, Apple announced that it has over one billion active iOS users while Google claims to have over 1.4 billion active Android users. A good app has the potential to reach out to a lot of consumers.

2. Purpose

If you get to this stage, you’ve probably decided that having an app is more than just a good idea. But what is it that you intend to achieve? Having a clear purpose defined before you begin development will maintain focus on the end goal. Write down your thoughts somewhere so you can keep track of them, and get advice where you can. You may have some good ideas, but are they achievable? Once you have a clear purpose, it is much easier to get other people on board – transparency is key.
After you’ve established a purpose, you need a way to measure the success of your app. Utilising analytics will help to show you how your app is being used, and if the app is fulfilling its purpose. If you are not achieving targets; you need to know quickly, so that you can make the necessary changes.

3. Research

Once you’ve established the foundations of your app, the main purpose, you need to do some research. Take a look on the various app stores on different platforms and search for applications that have a similar purpose to your own. If you can’t find any, then you’ve found a niche. But take heed; while you may have found a gap in the market, there may be a reason for developers avoiding it.
If the app that you want to create is similar to existing apps, then play around with them. What do they do well, where to they fall short? You need to be able to create an app that functions at least the same standard. Ideally, you want your app to be the best option on the market. Take the role of the consumer – what is it you want to see?

4. Target Audience

Who is your app for? Knowing your audience will give you valuable information that enables you to streamline the functionality of your app, and keep costs down. You need to know which platform your users are most likely to use, which devices are the most popular, and how they differ. Don’t spend time and money creating features that your audience will not use. You need to know if it’s worth porting your app to most platforms if you discover that the majority of your audience is on Android.

5. Budgeting

Know what you are willing to spend before you spend it. Commissioning an app is only one cost, you need to be clear that there are other expenses. To ensure that your app remains fully functional, you will need to think about maintenance, to iron out any bugs. More importantly, you will need to consider the vital task of marketing. If you want to market a new app idea, you will likely need to match your development budget. If you are developing an app for an existing market, you may need to spend almost ten times the development budget if you want to employ disruptive marketing. Scale your expectations to your budget requirements.
For 5 more tips to help you develop a successful app, please checkout The Distance’s blog post. They will be exhibiting at Prolific North Live 2017 at stand 120, so be sure to swing by to pick up many more wise words of wisdom.

About the author

Anthony Main is the MD of The Distance – a 100% UK app development company. Their brand represents their long term commitment to their client relationships and projects. The Distance was founded in 2009 shortly after the launch of the Apple Appstore and is entirely focused on the development of mobile-based solutions. With clients ranging from new start-ups through to global enterprises, they are a valued partner in business. Their portfolio includes brands such as the NHS, Bentley Motors, Astra Zeneca, Slimming World, Camden Market, SafeStyle UK, Virgin East Coast Trains.

How to claim tax relief on SEO and PPC campaigns

By Adrian Williamson of Jumpstart

Search engine optimisation and pay per click campaigns are nowadays core elements in the marketing mix. However SEO and digital agencies may be unaware that they can claim tax relief for their work in some cases.

While the rules on R&D tax credits are complex, the trick is to understand the type of activities that might be eligible and speak to an expert to check if you have a claim.

As a general rule, the day to day SEO and PPC activities do not qualify for relief – in these cases, practices are well established and you will have a good idea of what works and what doesn’t. The projects most likely to be eligible are the complex and challenging campaigns, where you are required to come up with innovative solutions and where there is uncertainty about how effective it will be or whether it will work at all.

To illustrate the point, here are some common areas for claims:

1. Unclear guidelines
Google and other search engines change their algorithms frequently and their guidelines are often ambiguous. In some cases, established techniques such as the use of keywords may fail to deliver the expected results and SEO specialists may have to experiment to find out what works while being mindful of those unpredictable and unexpected risks.

2. Overseas SEO
Dealing with western search engines can be difficult enough but improving rankings on sites such as Yandex or Baidu is a lot more challenging and uncertain. Again, the work may involve experiments and trialling different solutions to find what’s most effective.

3. Developing SEO tools
Clever SEO agencies are increasingly developing their own tools to automate the process or measure some aspect of performance which they can then offer as standalone products to generate ongoing income. This type of product development work is a common theme in R&D tax credit claims.

4. Ranking pay per click
Many clients are surprised to find that the success of pay per click campaigns may depend on their website ranking – if Google considers it’s not so relevant for the target audience, their ads will achieve little visibility. In some cases, resolving the problem is not so straightforward and again, will involve a process of systematic trials.

Do you recognise any of these situations or have a project that may fit the bill? If so, speak to a specialist adviser as interpreting the rules correctly and using the right terminology is crucial to success with any claim.

Adrian Williamson has over 30 years’ experience as a software engineer. He is now an expert on R&D tax credits, advising clients in web and app development, third party integration, IT infrastructure, SEO and cloud technology.

To book a free consultation with Adrian, contact Ian Wolfendale on 07531 448 053 or email

Northern Powerhouse SMEs are leaving their songs left unsung

Since moving back to Lancashire 3 years ago after nearly 20 years down south, I’m still struck by the differences in culture between companies based here and in the Greater London sprawl. The North West has been welcoming and open in ways even I, as a returning Lancastrian, wasn’t expecting.

For innovation, this is a very good thing. Openness lets ideas breed.
Like many other areas of the country outside London, the historically industrious North West is quietly getting on with running and building business prosperity without waiting for the power of the region to be unleashed by government funds.
In contrast to the clipped certainty of the London start-up scene, entrepreneurs and business owners here often seem more humble. Their business focus tends to be on getting the product right. Making sure the groundwork is done properly. Not shouting about how big the company is going to be in 5 years time unless there is very clear evidence that this projection will become reality.

Full order books have kept many companies in the North West away from marketing.
The thing that turned me in to a more vocal champion for the area was that from the outside, it can look like there is not much going on. Like we might not understand business because we live outside London. But then you look at the bottom lines of some of the region’s home-grown companies. And you realise how big their potential is, if anyone had actually heard of them.
Marketing – delivering what customers want, profitably – is not something that Unilever does because it has the luxury of a huge advertising budget. Marketing is the translation of business objectives into a relevant set of clearly communicated products or services, based on a sound understanding of customer needs. We have to get past the evaluation of marketing as a cost. It is an investment that will grow your bottom line, or it has no business existing.

Shouting about your latest deal on Twitter does not equal effective digital marketing.
In 2017 we need to get our message across more clearly. We can all be effective advocates for the innovation and growth potential that exists in our region. This year, let’s get more Northern Powerhouse companies singing loud enough to be heard on a national and international stage.

Jane Dalton, Founding Director at Groundswell Innovation @JDGroundswell
Prolific North Live – Stand 185, just opposite the BBC at Stand 37.

3 Ways for Web Developers to claim Tax Relief

By Adrian Williamson of Jumpstart

Website developers may appear to have little in common with scientists – yet some of the more complex sites can officially be classed as research and development projects, which means that developers can claim tax relief for the work.

To ensure you don’t miss out, the key is to understand the type of activities that might be eligible. As a general rule, simple websites using tried and tested technologies will not qualify, nor will design, storyboarding or anything related to user experience. The projects most likely to be eligible are the complex and bespoke jobs, where the work crosses over to the back end of the site and where innovative solutions and technologies are required.

To illustrate the point, here are three of the most common areas for claims:

1. Making sites mobile friendly
With responsive design, most sites work automatically on mobile these days. However, problems often arise in getting native APIs to integrate with different platforms on different devices. Even when they can be made to work, they may not be able to respond fast enough, deal with the level of expected traffic or the supply the data users require. Resolving these issues can be complex and costly but the work is likely to qualify for tax credits.

2. Moving services online
Allowing customers to book online is a great idea as it offers them 24-hour access without the need for an operator. However in many sectors – from holidays and hire firms to social housing – services often rely on legacy systems operated by trained staff. Therefore web developers typically face the challenge of making an expert user system available for self-service, while accessing data from various back-end systems. Not surprisingly, self service is a common theme in R&D tax credit claims.

3. Rewriting a CMS
With more complex websites, it is not usually the content creation where problems arise but the way it integrates with the CMS system. While standard CMS systems can cope with a multitude of applications, in some cases developers may have no choice but to adapt the CMS or rewrite it altogether. Examples we have seen include a company with 600 domain names linked to the same CMS and sites pulling in data from multiple sources. Another area likely to qualify for claims!

Do you recognise any of these situations or have a project that may fit the bill? If so, speak to a specialist adviser as interpreting the rules correctly and using the right terminology is crucial to the success of any claim.
Adrian Williamson has over 30 years’ experience as a software engineer. He is now an expert on R&D tax credits, advising clients in web and app development, third party integration, IT infrastructure, SEO and cloud technology.

To book a free consultation with Adrian, contact Ian Wolfendale on 07531 448 053 or email


With Prolific North Live 2017 just around the corner, Refresh PR’s managing director, Laura Mashiter, looks ahead to the event and the agency’s plans to shake up the status quo.

Signing up to Prolific North Live was a no brainer. Not only will we have the opportunity to be in front of 5,000 delegates, but we’ll also be exhibiting alongside more than a hundred of the North’s most forward-thinking creative businesses.

Collaboration and sharing best practice is something we do day in, day out, and Prolific North Live is the perfect platform to grow this part of our business model. At the same time, the event presents new opportunities to break the status quo and talk about some of the topics we creative types sometimes try to avoid.

To do this, we’ll be asking people in the industry to tell us their pet hates, to really get under their skin and better understand what we as an industry need to do in order to successfully adapt and evolve. So, if you’ve had enough of hashtags or feel your blood boiling when you see a QR code, why not visit stand 85 and put them into Refresh’s Room 101.

As technologies and consumers’ needs change, new opportunities for innovation and creativity arise but, inevitably, so do potential frustrations. At Refresh, we continually revise and improve our ways of working to ensure we’re ahead of the curve and adapt quickly to any changes to reduce any impact on our collaborators or clients.

The expo is the perfect opportunity to take a step back and reflect on what the industry would like to change, open the lines of communication between different businesses within the sector and start working to address these issues.

So, whether you work in-house or in agency, we want to hear from you. If you want to share your Room 101 suggestions ahead of Prolific North Live, tweet us @RefreshPR, or join us in the main expo area at 12.10pm on Thursday 16th February to hear the results and find out what we’re doing to combat these issues!