I am Gavin Elliott and I am alive

It’s a strange one, I never thought I’d be in the position where I had to defend myself over my own apparent death.

I noticed some strange searches hitting the blog just over 24 hours ago in the style of “gavin elliott dead” and “gavin elliott killed” which started raising some alarm bells. Our family name is quite strong and there are plenty ‘Elliott’s’ to go around but matching both my first and last name is not something that happens frequently.

I ran my own couple of searches which led to newspaper articles that were possibly pre-published then taken down, and further investigation in the last few hours has shown why it’s been happening.

Unfortunately/Tragically, Private Gavin Elliott of 2nd Battalion The Mercian Regiment, was killed in Afghanistan after being shot on Thursday 3rd September.

It is very close to home, just over 3 years ago I was serving in the British Army, in the Royal Engineers. A few friends from home have been killed and some soldiers I knew of have also lost their lives. To have someone die in a war with the same name as you is eerie to say the least and I feel for his family and friends.

This, very short blog post, is a quick note to say that it is not actually me who passed away and a very big tribute to Gavin Elliott of 2nd Battalion The Mercian Regiment for doing something he believed in whether it was protecting the Afghan people or serving with his mates.

Rest In Peace mate.

Keeping a school open using effective marketing

This isn’t a normal post from me but stick with it as I think it may come in handy to some people.

Jennifer, my fiancee is an incredibly talented Nursery Teacher in a school in the North East of England. We’ve recently both noticed a change in the education system in the North East especially as this is home after all. There have been some schools in the North East which are losing numbers of children joining the school and because the schools are funded on a ‘per child’ basis every year if there is a drop in numbers there is then a drop in funding for the school for that particular year. This funding covers costs like staff wages, materials, working costs basically everything you see in a school.

The Government trying to help

It seems that the governments point of view on this is to build part private / part funded schools which are now going to be called an ‘Academy’. An academy is too be larger than a normal school and will be ran by multiple head teachers and usually have a ‘manager’ at the helm. Whilst this works for a number of local areas there are still some schools which are being left to fend for themselves.

A drop in numbers for a school could be detrimental to its survival, a heavy drop in numbers could leave the school with a deficit from £10’000 to £80’000 in any one year. Such a deficit requires quick action and usually like it most areas of work the quickest way to recover is to offer redundancy.

Remember what a school is

Looking behind the education system, you have to remember that a school is still a business. As I explained before, schools are funded by the government and the funds are decided on how many children are being taught at the school. If a schools numbers drops suddenly, so does the money in. Still with me?

If a school doesn’t keep its numbers up then tragic things happen, teachers could be made redundant and worst of all the school could indeed be amalgamated with another school or be forced to close.

Schools could indeed become complacent as it is entirely normal for them to have a good amount of new children joining the school every year, however at the moment there is literally a shortage.

Fixing the business

First off, identify the issue. If the single issue is that their aren’t enough new school starters then you need to figure out how to fix it. Parents have a choice where to send their children, just like school leavers can choose which University or College to go to. Most parents will choose a local school however some if not most will pick a school which is leading in various fields. In the United Kingdom we have OFSTED reports, the OFSTED reports show how well a school is doing. The reports are published publicly so parents can find out which schools in their area are doing really good things.

Here’s one for the teachers / head teachers and governors of schools;

If parents do not know that your school is doing fantastic things for the children and giving them the best education they could get, why would they send them to the school!?

The statement is certainly not rocket science but it is definitely something which could be overlooked.

Social Marketing and PR

Nurturing talent and building on it is a clever way to get noticed. If you have some of the best teachers you’ve ever worked with at your school nurture them, give them what they want. If they want to achieve great things along the way, give them a helping hand. If the teachers are happy the children and the parents will be ecstatic. If the parents are happy then word spreads and the schools ‘community’ grows.

You can use PR to support your marketing efforts, by letting the wider community know about the school doing well through the likes of local newspapers you are again growing your community effort. You could even use some good associated PR for the kind of school trips or community liaison work the school has done.

With regards to Social Media, nine times out of ten a schools website is pretty terrible. They usually have a donated website via the local authority which is thrown together by an I.T professional of some description. Whilst they’re perfectly brilliant with normal I.T related issues they’re certainly not web orientated.

Just off the top of my head I thought of a few things which you could publish on a school website for promotion;

  1. A school walk-around – Show the prospective clients (parents) what the school is like inside, show them the brilliant learning environments your fantastic teachers have developed for the children.
  2. List the teachers in the school with their associated skill set and tell the parents why they’re brilliant at what they do.
  3. Do walk and talk video’s with the teachers on what they’ve been doing on various weeks and detail it all for parents to watch online.
  4. Grow your school communities through social media and let the parents know of things happening online.
  5. Use Twitter as a reporting system of what various years groups are doing on particular days so the parents are kept informed.

Those are just 5 things you can do to promote your school online. The only thing you have to be careful of these days are the rights of the children not to be video’d and photographed.

Personally, because I live with a teacher I’d love to work with a school on it’s social marketing, it is business after all.

35 Amazing Stationery Pack Designs

Brand creation and design is an awesome creative process and when it comes to transferring those brands across a companies stationery the fun starts all over again. I’ve decided to look for some of the most amazing and creative stationery pack designs across the web. This post shows a showcase of 35 creative stationery designs for business cards, letterheads and compliments slips. Hope you like it!

The Wonderland Hotel


The Hazelnut Promotion Group






Air Tempo


Rooftop Communications LLC




Armagh City Hotel


Cafe Brasil





Master of Disguise




Punane Puu


Film Arts




Elliott Stephens


Living Provence






Capolonna Buffet Service


F:8 Productions




Daniels Court


Integrity Spirits


Juni Claire








Seu Armando Bar


Golden Three Stars


Croc Blockers




Dolce Vita


Clover Room


Looking for more?

You will want to check out the guys over at Graphic River, there are tonnes of stationery sets for inspiration or to buy for as little as $7.

Getting it all under one roof

I’ve been running various blogs over the past 2 years and have now decided to merge two of them. One being this one (gavinelliott.co.uk) and the other being floobe.com. I had great thoughts about floobe.com when originally starting out, but lack of time and even less effort hindered it’s progress.

The high hopes were hindered by lack of effort and the lack of effort was down to having too many places to blog when all I wanted to do was produce awesome content. I’m certainly not shy of hard work and writing content, years ago between 2000 and 2003 I wrote regularly at nvmax.com as the Gaming Editor. Our competitors back then were neowin, nvnews and guru3d. All three were very big websites and we had a plan to progress hard and fast through the ranks of which we were already pretty high.

I’ve been wanting to progress my writing in many ways so finding ways to move on and add better content was key over the past couple of weeks. Making the big decision to port the content from floobe.com to here was a big decision I must admit but one which I feel I have to do.

So in future you’ll be getting the same kind of awesome content as you saw on Friday with the 30 Designers, 1 Question post as the follow up post is already in progress.

The Twitter Auto-Follow Demise

Auto Follow is not going to help Twitter’s expansion one iota. Use Twitter for what its best at and stop racing towards a large amount of twitter followers.

Links I use in the video:

Dave Perel – http://www.from-the-couch.com
Adii – http://www.adii.co.za
Elliot Jay Stocks – http://www.elliotjaystocks.com
Gary Vaynerchuk – http://www.garyvaynerchuk.com

eCommerce Experiment – http://www.ecommerceexperiment.com

Web Apps and Ecommerce, a busy time…

We’re on the web app wagon

It’s been a couple of months in the making and a considerable amount of planning but we’re going to be creating a couple of web apps in house at carrotmedia. We’ve been thinking about a varied amount of apps which we could develop which are unique and provide a service which is needed. We believe we’ve ear marked two potential apps which could do just that. At the start of our web app idea journey we were finding it extremely difficult to pick out ideas which hadn’t been done already and ones which other people would find useful.


They’re currently in alpha development, one will be entering beta testing in the next couple of weeks and the other named muddledup is currently requiring sign-ups so we can let you all know when we’re entering the next stage.

The two apps are directed towards businesses or individuals within our own line of work so they fit well with the design/development agencies and freelancers. If you want to enquire about beta testing the apps get in touch directly if you wish and I’ll hook you up.

I’ll be talking more about the apps as they get closer to the testing phases.

Pulling the ecommerce train – the long haul

Adii Rockstar recently wrote a new blog posts called “Ecommerce: 4 reasons why it’s failing”, and I thought it was about time to let a few people know what we’re doing over at carrotmedia. We work with awesome clients every day on their ecommerce sites and wanted to see if we could do it ourselves. More as a learning curve than anything, to see how and in what ways we can change things to bring more sales and then passing these benefits onto our clients.

We?re going to be blogging the whole thing from scratch and producing updates of progress/sales/traffic etc. Hopefully with setting up our own ecommerce store we can lead from example and help everyone else out by blogging about it.

Spanner in the works!?


Woke up this morning to a news report saying that News Corporation were holding secret talks with Yahoo!

This is only a day later than the report saying that Rupert Murdoch was playing down reports that he was even interested in going after Yahoo! The BBC News Report states that Yahoo! would hand over 20% of it’s shares to News Corp under the deal.

Microsoft had initially offered in an alleged deal $40bn (£20.5bn) to buy Yahoo! The major shareholder for Yahoo! said that Microsoft’s estimation on a share price for Yahoo was below par and should raise it up to $40 a share.

So the race is hotting up to buy out Yahoo! Should be an interesting few days.