Sunday, 27 April 2008

Leaving Hotel Chocolat

As some of you will now know I left my role as Online Marketing Manager at Hotel Chocolat two weeks ago to pursue a new role as Online Acquisition Manager at premium department store House of Fraser, working within the e-commerce department.

I have truly loved every minute of my role at Hotel Chocolat and would like to take this opportunity to thank EVERYONE whom I worked with for all their help and support that you have given me over the last 2 and half years.

Their have been many highlights during my role from the launch of the new UK website, naturally the expansion to American with the various awards Hotel Chocolat claimed – Retail Week award and acquiring CoolBrands status but then also being taken out by one of my affiliates to a cricket test match – an awesome touch by an affiliate and fantastic day out (KP hit 222) and my CJU affiliate marketing award for Outstanding Personal Contribution to Affiliate Marketing– which was fantastic recognition from my peers of the hard work that I have put into the Hotel Chocolat affiliate program.

I have learned a lot and I also hope I have become good friends with many people in the industry. Many treat business as just that whereas, they forget in this industry it is all about the people and their relationships. I believe this should always remain the key focus to ensure continued success for all involved

I’ll naturally now be updating my blog on the latest from House of Fraser including managing the affiliate program and listing the latest promotions on here to general updates and naturally keeping up to date with Bolton’s plight to stay in the Premier league.

Thanks, Chris

Sunday, 13 April 2008

Family, friends and football weekend

Football, friends and family weekend

I’m just on my way back to London from Bolton after a long weekend back to my family home. I trust a little blog entry will pass the time as well as catching up with the latest men’s style and business reading GQ style and Monocle.

The weekend started early with a work trip to Manchester on Thursday. I was meeting up with the top bar staff from The Living Room Bar & Restaurant to video their top cocktail mixologists concept cocktails with Hotel Chocolat’s Liquid Chocolat – our twist on the classic hot chocolate.

In total we videoed 8 Liquid Chocolat inspired cocktails to which will be released at the beginning of the week – the drinks created were truly fantastic and definitely shows the of Liquid Chocolat – my favourite was between a classic mocha martini and an old fashion chocolat – give me a few days and these will be on my blog.

I booked the Friday of work for a days holiday and spent the day with my parents and old brother – plenty of time to catch up from our Football European trips and time for a few beers. My brother and I ended up heading into Wigan for a northern night out, a hell of a lot different to my London nights out but classic value – such a good laugh and creeping in at 5am – not to wake my parents – It was like being 17 again!

Saturday was all about Football – and Bolton Wanderers game with West Ham. Previously I’ve discussed about Bolton's pitiful plight to stay in the Premiership and my opinion that it’s time for Gary Megson to be sacked – all that however can be discussed when our fate is determined, Saturday was all about getting the 3 points, it was a must win game if we were to have any chance of staying in the premiership. Before the game I fancied a little hung-over flutter all now with hindsight complete waste of money!

The game wasn’t a classic by any stretch of the imagination however, we WON! – objective achieved. We had at least 3 chances cleared off the line and two goals disallowed for offside so to win 1-0 I feel flattered a poorly inspired West Ham.

Kevin Davies scores for Bolton Wanderers

Saturday night I met my old business partner and long term friend, Matthew Buck. We used to own a e-business solutions agency in between university and full time employment to which I passed onto Matt. He has now successfully formed a profitably local IT specialists business based in Wigan (Ratware) serving the North West of England. We discussed his latest IT support contracts and network installations whilst also reviewing his business marketing plans and new website – all this over a few too many bottles of beer and a fantastic Chinese take-away! Seeing how far his business has development is testimony to all his hard work and I trust a few online marketing tips will really help him grow his company further to meeting the vast demand for improved IT systems in the north-west, it was great inspiration to see an old high school and college friend now a fully profitable entrepreneur.

Here’s a link to Matt’s IT systems and network software business and also a cheeky link to his network engineering blog.

Well that’s my blog update for the weekend – always great to nip back home even if only for a brief few days… back now to London.

Friday, 4 April 2008

Spring Chocolate Affiliate Campaign

After yesterday releasing Spring Fashion Advice I'll keep the Spring theme going and point you in the direction of Hotel Chocolat's spring affiliate campaign.

Matt has just posted on the affiliates4u forum with further details on creative and commission level - to view click here.

Thanks, Chris

Thursday, 3 April 2008

It’s now officially Spring!!

I read in the paper yesterday it is now officially spring however, is wasn’t that that made it official, or the clocks changing… or even the daphodiles starting to flower.

What finally makes Spring official is the hanging up of my Hugo Boss Autumn/Winter jacket for the foreseeable future and the donning of my Spring/Summer Hugo Boss jacket!

Hugo Boss Jacket - Is that Jose Mourinho
As seen here on a cold day walking to work!

Comparisons have been made with Jose Mourinho, as I am sure you can see and it has therefore been aptly named the Jose Mourinho jacket.

Jose Mourinho

Or it can look more like his Jacket with a bit of silverware?? How beautiful is the FA Cup!! Glad I didn't drop it!

FA Cup Final oh and Chris Bishop

So for future season changes don’t rely on the weather reports or leaves falling etc simply ask me what current jacket I am wearing for the season and you will be able to know via my seasonable wardrobe!


Link building strategies of the sweeter type

I’ve actually just replied to a post on e-consultancy titled Link building strategies from the experts however, I believe I have an example of unique link building from one of the Hotel Chocolat affiliates.

Diane Drinkwater replaces links on her numerous sites for Hotel Chocolat chocolates. So a nice deeplink into your struggling SEO site can be achieved via the purchase of a box of chocolates!

Box of Chocolates for Link Buying

Diane came up with this clever idea last year after being inundated with email requests daily for link requests/exchanges. This was taking her far too much time to manage So Rather than field these emails on an individual basis she thought that getting a box of chocolates instead of money would work rather well for her as a confessed chocoholic therefore Links for Chocolate was born.

People who email her about links on any of her sites now get an automated email directing them to look at Links for Chocolate and she receives Hotel Chocolat in exchange!

She mentioned to me
"It's certainly saved me some time discussing linkage with people as now they know what the fees are. I chose Hotel Chocolat as they're my favourite chocolates ever, and there's enough choice for me to deal with dozens of links and not get bored with the same chocolates"

Fantastic story I thought I simply had to share - good on you Diane


Links for Chocolate -

Ps. No chance of a link back is there???