ETL Blog

ETL Blog

Rapid Imager: Taking forensic imaging to a whole new level

Evidence Talks’ new SPEKTOR Module ‘Rapid Imager’, enables faster and new approaches to image acquisition. It offers the ability to store multiple streams per container using an AFF4 format, saving the investigator’s valuable time.

This is an exciting development that all organisations and businesses with digital forensic processes should take an interest in. Law Enforcement agencies for example could benefit greatly by using Rapid Imager technology, as police forces tend to have substantial backlogs of cases in their High Tech Crime Units. According to HMIC’s Police Effectiveness reports in 2016, one of the UKs largest Police forces, in terms of geographical area, had a current waiting time in the High Tech Crime Unit for computer examinations of 12 to 15 months. This may sound like an extraordinarily long time, however unfortunately this is becoming the industry standard in most areas. More devices per person are now being seized, each having greater storage capacity which therefore take longer for forensic experts to image and analyse. Along with the rapid development of technology, new types of online crime have emerged, allowing criminals to offend whilst remaining as removed as possible from the target.

Corporate companies should also take an interest in the use of SPEKTOR and the new Rapid Imager module as it could help them to do their jobs faster, saving them both time and money. Many smaller businesses will not have their own digital forensic laboratories and so will rely on outsourcing their work to external facilities. This means that larger corporate forensic labs will also have large backlogs which could be dramatically reduced with Rapid Imager.

For the police, long backlog times can result in victims waiting longer for the results of investigations. It can also mean that it takes them longer to prosecute people and therefore cases build up. If offenders are not prosecuted quickly, they are released on bail meaning that they are out on the streets for longer, potentially committing further offences and adding even more cases to the growing backlog. Police forces across the UK are caught in this vicious cycle which could easily be reduced with the use of Rapid Imager.

Rapid Imager could have a significant impact on backlog times for both law enforcement agencies and corporate organisations. This module could provide a solution by reducing the number of seized devices that need to be taken back to a forensic lab. A suspect’s family or children's devices  could be imaged on scene using Rapid Imager and the image could then be brought back to the lab and analysed, saving both time and space in the forensic facility.

A flowchart illustrating the digital backlog cycle

So, what is Rapid Imager?

Rapid Imager is a forensic imaging tool, providing the same service as many competitors currently on the market. However, the difference is that Rapid Imager condenses stored data into a smaller space to allow for a much faster imaging process. The development of the new module was inspired by the fact that other tools are simply not fast enough to keep up with the vast number, and increasing size, of the storage devices being seized every day.

How does it compare to other imaging tools?

In order to truly understand the advantage of Rapid Imager above other imaging toolkits, an array of different store disk, Universal Serial Bus (USB) and pod brands were tested alongside one another by our product testing team, to identify the best combination to produce the most efficient outcome for the end user. The below is a graph to show the different speeds on different imaging platforms using the Toshiba TransMemory 16GB USB as a target, with a data table correlating to the graph.

Below is a chart to show a comparison in time taken to image a much larger 500GB hard disk with a Tableau TD2 and Rapid Imager.

From these results, it is clear to see that the quickest imaging format was in fact the Rapid Imager. The Tableau TD2 managed to image and verify the disk in a total of 217 minutes (3 hours and 37 minutes), whereas the rapid imager performed the same imaging and verification process in 160 minutes (2 hours 40 minutes), concluding that the rapid imager is 57 minutes faster than the tableau.

Why is it so much faster?

The Tableau TD2, along with most other imaging toolkits, images in an E01 format whereas Rapid Imager uses AFF4. A report constructed by our product testers explains;

‘Throughout the years of digital forensics, methods have been researched and developed in order to analyse data faster, but also efficiently. Advanced Forensics Format (AFF) is one of those enhancements. AFF is an extensible open format, which ultimately enhances better storage of disk images and related forensic metadata. This however, has been developed further by Dr. Bradley Schatz, enabling the creation of the AFF4 format. AFF4, also known as Rapid Imager, offers significant new features such as the ability to store multiple kinds of evidence from multiple devices in a single archive, and an improved separation between the underlying storage mechanism and forensic software that makes use of evidence stored using AFF. This improved system allows a single archive of evidence to be used in a variety of modes, including single evidence files, multiple evidence files stored on multiple workstations, and evidence stored in a relational database or object management system, and all without making changes to forensic software. Ultimately, its development is based on obtaining data efficiently, rapidly and with less hassle.’

It is a common misunderstanding within the forensic industry that nothing understands AFF4 format. This is incorrect. Evidence Talks are able to provide a free Windows System Driver which mounts the image to be read only – this does the job of a write blocker. This makes the image accessible and it becomes available to your computer to be converted and viewed by any tool. The free Windows System Driver can be pointed at the rapid image and it can be read as normal.

Many of our customers work in the Law Enforcement sector and so Rapid Imager could help them by helping to reduce their backlogs in High Tech Crime Units. The new SPEKTOR module will also allow them to complete the same job without spending as much time on scene with suspects in hazardous situations. Police officers will no longer be required to seize every device they find. The unparalleled speed of Rapid Imager will allow them to image the device in a fraction of the time, meaning that they can leave devices behind and simply examine the AFF4 images back at the station.

Where do we go from here?

SPEKTOR users can contact us for a free one month trial of Rapid Imager NOW. The development of our products is actively driven by customer feedback and ideas. We want to hear your thoughts and allow you to test the new module to experience the speed advantages for yourselves.

Looking to the future, Rapid Imager will be a vital part of our new Cascade® Forensics Automated Workflow System. Cascade Forensics is a scalable, client-server architecture combining our core SPEKTOR triage technology with policy driven automated processing logic. Both the Cascade System and the new Rapid Imager module are changing the very nature of forensic investigations. Look out for a separate blog post focusing on Cascade Forensics in the near future.

preview 

Rapid Imager has been released and is now available for purchase to all SPEKTOR customers. It is faster than its competitors by a significant margin. The research conducted by our software testers clearly outlined that the most efficient way of imaging a 500GB hard disk was by using Rapid Imager. It was 57 minutes quicker than imaging with an E01 format (Tableau TD2) but the acquired image size was still the same (466GB). The speed of Rapid Imager could significantly help reduce digital forensic backlogs. This means that our customers can complete their objectives faster than before. Illegal activity can be discovered faster, leading to the resolution of more cases.

 

For more information, visit our website!

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References:

https://www.justiceinspectorates.gov.uk

www.goo.gl/kVm9Hd

 

Young people aren’t choosing Computer Science? WHY!?

                         School children are becoming less likely to choose to take Information Technology (IT) or Computing as GCSE or A-level subjects. Ofqual (the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation) research shows very little improvement in the numbers of students taking the new Computer Science GCSE. This year, 67,800 students took the GCSE compared to 61,220 in 2016. The British Computer Society, the professional body for the IT industry, warns that the number studying for a computing qualification could halve by 2020. Another concern held by the British Computing Society is that the industry is becoming increasingly male dominated as too few girls are taking up computing qualifications. Last year, just 20% of all computing students were female (BBC, 2017).

                    This is an issue that all organisations and businesses should take an interest in because in almost all businesses today, some form of computing is required. This could include the creation and maintenance of a website, processing online transactions, advertising online via social media or even developing new software.

                    The solution to this problem requires input from a number of different industries, but most importantly the science and technology sector. Technology companies must find new ways to engage children in the subject and to encourage young adults to consider a career in the computing industry, before they reach the age at which they choose their GCSEs, A-levels or Degree courses.

                    Despite the fact that the national curriculum ensures that all pupils have the opportunity to study Computer Science at a GCSE level, in 2015, only 28% of schools had students who wanted to choose it. The average percentage of students taking up Computer Science was just 5.5% at GCSE and only 1.7% at A-Level (BBC, 2017). This statistic shows that the low numbers of students taking up computing qualifications is not due to unavailability of classes, but rather due to students simply not wanting to study the subject.

                    When computing is delivered effectively, it can be a highly-structured learning experience and holistically very beneficial, as the subject itself develops problem solving capability; something which is relevant in every subject and every career. If it is not delivered effectively, it can cause children to lose interest in the subject, resulting in them ruling it out as a GCSE or A-level subject choice.

As a digital forensics company, this is highly relevant to Evidence Talks, and to other companies operating in the science and technology sector. It is an important topic and more needs to be done to encourage young people to take an interest in technology and how it will influence their future.

                    Recently, Evidence Talks have been working in partnership with children and local schools at a Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) festival event in Milton Keynes. These subjects represent a vital set of sciences, the skills of which are required in almost all businesses operating today.

                    Local schools can help by encouraging or providing schemes such as the GoCode Academy programmes in London, Milton Keynes, Bedford, Northampton, Birmingham, Oxford and Cambridge. GoCode provide two after-school coding clubs which cover two programming languages, Scratch and Python, which are used by large companies such as Google, Dropbox, YouTube and Instagram.

                    International businesses can also get involved and make a significant difference in the number of young people considering careers in computer science. A key part of D. A. Kolb’s Experimental Learning Cycle is Active Experimentation (Kolb, 1984). This involves trying out and testing new skills and abilities in order to learn and develop more effectively. If larger organisations across the world could provide more opportunities for internships or apprenticeships in the field of computing, this could potentially encourage more young adults to begin and continue careers in the technology sector.

                    Although Evidence Talks are a relatively small company, we have proudly offered internships to university students completing a ‘year in industry’ placement as part of a computing or digital forensics degree. We have previously employed interns in a variety of roles from software testing to forensic analysts. As a direct result of the time spent with us, we have offered our latest intern a permanent full-time position as a Software Tester with the company after she graduates with her degree next year. We have also just signed a new intern who will be starting an exciting year-long placement with us very soon.

 

 

                     There is far from a shortage of jobs in the Computer Science field. In the US for example, there are almost 10 times as many computing jobs open right now than there are students graduating with computer science degrees (National Centre for Education Statistics, 2015). The comparison can be seen on the chart below.  Jobs in the technology industry tend to be highly paid, offer direct routes of progression and the skills learnt can be directly applied in various countries all over the world. The lack of interest in computing is concerning as it could come to a point where there are not enough students graduating with the skills required to fill these roles, and so technological advancement across the globe could slow down altogether.

                    In terms of the UK, there have been significant numbers of complaints from technology companies that the country has not been producing enough graduates who are qualified to fill vacancies. Hopefully, with coding now being taught to children from the age of five as part of the new national curriculum, and companies such as Evidence Talks engaging with schools and children in local areas, this could provide a long-term solution to the “skills gap” between the number of technology jobs and the people qualified to fill them.

 

References:

http://gocode.academy/kids/#page-top

Kolb, DA. (1984) ‘Experimental Learning experience as a source of learning and development’, New Jersey: Prentice Hall.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-40322796

https://www.roehampton.ac.uk/news/2016/december/better-provision-of-computing-needed-in-schools-confirms-new-report/

https://qz.com/929275/you-probably-should-have-majored-in-computer-science/

http://www.mastersportal.eu/articles/426/top-9-reasons-to-study-computer-science-or-it.html

 

Is Cyber Security still being side-lined and if so WHY?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Technological developments are taking place at an incredible speed which enables businesses to be more efficient, in terms of both time and money. Despite these benefits, technological advancements have also brought a new set of threats and challenges that many businesses have never experienced before. As a result of this, companies need to learn how to deal with these new phenomena in order to best protect themselves.

The recent global ransomware attacks on the NHS and other services have brought cyber-security into the limelight. Cyber-security is defined as the protection of all systems, networks and data from theft, damage or disruption (itgovernance, 2017). It has been reported that there have been attempts to attack organisations beyond the National Health Service (National Cyber Security Centre, 2017). It is therefore vitally important that businesses of all sizes prioritise online security as an area that is worthy of investment.

 Why is it vital for all companies to invest in cybersecurity?

Cyber security is not a problem that can be fixed indefinitely with the purchase of one particular piece of software. It is dynamic and ever-changing, therefore requiring an ongoing process of risk assessment and safeguarding. Cyber-attacks are almost impossible to predict but with sufficient security and preventative measures, their impact can be minimised.

Hackers are constantly learning new tricks and developing new ways to breach security measures. Cyber criminals are able to buy inexpensive hacking software from the internet, meaning that it is becoming increasingly easy for these individuals to get hold of private information and misuse it.

The insider threat to a business from its’ own staff and contractors should not be overlooked. Internal security procedures and policies must be communicated effectively to staff at induction and on a regular basis thereafter.

 So, what is stopping companies from investing?

One common reason why financial decision makers may decide not to invest in cyber security for their business is because of the idea that ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’. If the company has not been targeted before, they may not see any reason to invest further into cybersecurity measures. In reality however, an attack could be imminent which could potentially have devastating effects on the business. The fact that a business has not been targeted in the past does not mean that it will not be targeted in the future; a realisation that is reinforced by the recent ransomware attacks on the NHS.

A common misconception by some companies is that simply complying with relevant security legislation is enough to protect them. The ISO 27000 family of standards, for example, helps organisations of all sizes to keep its information secure through providing recommendations for an Information Security Management System (ISO, 2017). This will help a business to protect its information assets in cyberspace, but alone it is not necessarily enough to protect them from a targeted ransomware attack. Some CEOs or financial decision makers may have a lack of knowledge or awareness about the level of risk, therefore not enough investment is put into cyber-security.

 What does the solution look like and how can we get there?

To put it simply, there is not one overall solution to protect a company from cyber-attacks, but there are many different measures which can be implemented to reduce the harmful effects of an attack. It is about finding and fixing problems – not building huge defences. It is probably impossible for a company to be 100% protected against cyber-attacks. The focus should be on creating an internal process which finds bugs or vulnerabilities and works to restore them - in turn improving the cyber-security of the business.

Another way that a business can be made safer is to ensure that financial decision makers understand the detrimental impacts that a cyber-attack could have on the company, for example; loss of sensitive data, negative effects on the company’s reputation, the significant financial cost of a breach to the network and the reduced productivity in the long-run.

Finally, it can be very helpful to liaise with other companies within the same industry sector to discover the cyber-security measures that they are adopting and how effective these are. This is useful in highlighting your company’s current position and what needs to be improved in the future to bring the company into line with other market leaders.

 Simple precautions that all companies can take in order to avoid ‘Ransomware’ attacks:

Recommendations by the National Cyber Security Centre (Part of Government Communications Headquarters) are as follows:

  1. Keep your organisation's security software patches up to date
  2. Use proper antivirus software services and ensure they are also kept up to date
  3. Most importantly for ransomware, back up the data that matters to you, because you can't be held to ransom for data you hold somewhere else.

References:

https://www.itgovernance.co.uk/what-is-cybersecurity

https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/news/latest-statement-international-ransomware-cyber-attack-0

https://www.iso.org/isoiec-27001-information-security.html

Is paid-for training still a valid option for companies?

June 8, 2017

 With devices and technology being so prevalent today and staff so accustomed to teaching themselves how to use new tools, is paid-for training still a valid option for companies?

Not only is it important for staff to be trained, but also to make sure that their training is continuous. Ongoing training ensures that employees are effectively kept up-to-date with new industry standards and development, thus enabling a company to maintain a strong position of leadership within the industry.

The consistency of regular training (for example, annual refresher courses) is particularly relevant for the company’s basic policies and procedures. At Evidence Talks, our SPEKTOR Training courses provide the certified training and proof of competency that are becoming increasingly important ahead of the release of ISO 17025.

For the employees themselves, training can provide a sense of worth and value to a company. Group training sessions can help to create a supportive workplace where staff can help one another with difficult tasks. Employees who are sufficiently trained are likely to take more pride in their work as they feel appreciated and valued. Training opportunities provide employees with a challenge, which in turn generates more job satisfaction when completed.

At Evidence Talks we provide our own training courses in the use of SPEKTOR devices. In order to get the best use out of SPEKTOR, we encourage individuals to take part in a 3-day SPEKTOR User training course. These take place at our Milton Keynes office, however for bookings of more than 10 delegates, on-site training can be given.

Throughout the duration of the course, attendees have plenty of opportunities to practice and ask questions about any aspect of topics covered during the training to ensure a thorough understanding. Delegates who successfully complete the courses and final exercises are issued with a certificate of accreditation and an entry on our list of certified users.

We have spaces available on our upcoming SPEKTOR User training courses. These will be held 20th-22nd June25th-27th July and 27th-29th September and will be held at our premises in Milton Keynes. There are a number of different options available which cater for different numbers of delegates.

If these courses are of interest to you or your colleagues please visit the training section of our website for more information. I have linked this below:

www.evidencetalks.com/index.php/triage-training

Alternatively, do not hesitate to leave us a comment on this post and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

Also on the subject of training, this article from the Houston Chronicle provides an interesting read:

http://smallbusiness.chron.com/importance-training-development-workplace-10321.html

THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE LOGJAM -DEALING WITH THE DIGITAL BACKLOG

Written by Andrew Livesley MBE

The very real advantage of triage in the Criminal Justice System

Recent press coverage and statements by senior officers have served to highlight the scarcity of forensic digital examination resources and, indeed, the impact of that scarcity on the Criminal Justice System.

“…….figures show Lancashire Constabulary seized 745 computers last year and employed three forensic examiners to extract images from them.”

Alarmingly, these figures, obtained as a result of a Freedom of Information request (FOI), the report continues:

“…….do not include other devices such as digital cameras, mobile phones, portable hard drives, CDs, gaming devices, tablets and videos. Yet such devices are routinely seized by police as part of these investigations.”

The main issues for the police and law enforcement when dealing with digital data may be seen as;* The volume of data to be seized and/or examined;* The resources available for expert examination of seized material;* The ever growing distance between the investigator and the seized data.

Such activity carries a high value to the investigating officers as stated by DAC Steven Kavanagh

"Mobile phones and other devices are increasingly being used in all levels of criminal activity," said Stephen Kavanagh, Deputy Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service.

HMIC stated “we have found worrying examples of cases not being prepared properly because officers, having gathered evidence, were unable to have it recovered forensically in a format that would be admissible as evidence, or there being unacceptable delays in the analysis of the evidence.”

This situation fails to serve the victim and the delays can have an adverse effect on outcomes:“There are cases and there will be cases where the delay is such it could make the difference between an immediate custodial sentence and non-custodial disposal.”Judge Clement Goldstone QC

HMIC went onto to say: “The capabilities to tackle cyber-crime should not be the preserve of the specialist officer; every police officer needs an understanding of it and the capabilities to deal with the cyber-crime they will encounter.”

In order to make the fastest assessment of, for example, a laptop, a system which uses triage is required. Such a system can limit the data recovered and analysed. The speed of examination and analysis can be accelerated by intelligence driven data selection. For example, if the suspect is suspected of holding images of child exploitation, by cutting the search of the data down to only images, the speed will increase substantially. In such a case, rapid analysis at the front line will achieve two objectives:

* Provide the investigators with the evidence they need for charging, and* Allow the images to be submitted to assist in the protection of the children from further abuse at the earliest possible juncture.

Is reticence about change a good thing?

by Elizabeth Sheldon

We human beings, generally speaking do not like change. We would rather stay in a job we do not like than risk moving to a job we might like even less. Many partners stay married even though they are unhappy, for fear of what life might bring them as a single person. The next version of Windows is released and we see in ourselves and in our colleagues a huge reluctance to move from the version we are familiar and comfortable with, to the new sparkly version that will have more functionality and probably be more efficient.

Why is this? There are many blogs out there that offer excellent reasons such a:

"When we know exactly what we are doing we just don't want that to go away. It's like running a mile every day for five years then all of a sudden being forced to run two miles. You don't know if you can do it which leads to not wanting to do it." Kevin Jacobson

"Because we're pattern seeking mammals and we constantly relate things to one another, so the second something changes it messes our balance up temporarily." Stewart Gault

"I think what they don't really like is 'to be' or 'to get' changed by the will of others." Lejan

I believe we fear change do to the proposition of a lack of control. As a principle, humans desire power and control, our routines are routines because we have accepted them and been able to derive pleasure from them in one way or another. This potential loss of pleasure and control is very scary for most." John Dunbar

Perhaps the reason for resistance are good things, as they allow us to rationalise the impending change and ensure that it is a good  thing? form the comments above though, it seems it is fear and habit that are the most likely reasons for opposing or resisting change. In the workplace we fear that adopting a new process might take away our control or worse, our job, so we put up barriers to change. I believe that Lejan (above) has identified one of the key reasons for resisting change in the workplace and that is not allowing staff to decide for themselves. Give them enough information and detail so that staff can see for themselves that this change is a benefit to them and the business and everyone will be satisfied.

In 2009 when we first released SPEKTOR Forensic Triage to the market, there was huge resistance in High Tech Crime Units to adopting Triage as a methodology. Officer in the HTCU said they would be missing information and that they would be doing themselves out of a job.It is true that some units still retain this stance, the majority however understand that triage is an enabler not a disabler and that it cannot be applied to every case. Used properly it can reduce case-load and backlogs by a significant margin.

It has only taken 5 years to get the changing methodology of Triage accepted by the majority of the UK law enforcement community. What have you developed that has taken years to be adopted and accepted by the world?

The importance of customers during product development

by Elizabeth Sheldon

How many of us have a great idea that we just know will fly off the shelves if only we could get it to market quickly? The idea is so great and so innovative that we embark on development without consultation, because we know that this idea is just right. It will be used the way we envision it because that is the most logical method and the most effective because that is how we perceive our products.

Does this sound familiar to you? I suspect that to some extent all of us have suffered the arrogance of conceiving a product and embarking on the development of that product in blissful isolation of those who will be the target users. The first product we came up with was Remote Forensics and it came into being becasue our Principal Consultant had to go to Lagos to acquire digital data for a client from a bank and he did not enjoy it so he came up with a way of acquiring that data without having to leave his office.

Very clever you might think and yes it is but spending time with our clients discussing the ways that they might use this technology has resulted in a vast range of other enhancements and features that would not have seen the light of day had we just developed in isolation and had we spoken to them during development would have resulted in shorter production time.

With our latest product SPEKTOR Drive, we set up a User Group prior to developing the product. The aim was to discuss with the group how they might use the tool and develop it along the correct path for each specific type of user. The User Group tested it for us at each development stage and reported back with comments and feature requests.

The result of this has been faster development along the right lines. SPEKTOR Drive was ready for market months ahead because the development and client testing were integrated and few post development changes were needed.

There is an article here about Incubators that reiterates the advantages of quizzing your customers before developing http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/226282

The importance of customers during product development

by Elizabeth Sheldon

How many of us have a great idea that we just know will fly off the shelves if only we could get it to market quickly? The idea is so great and so innovative that we embark on development without consultation, because we know that this idea is just right. It will be used the way we envision it because that is the most logical method and the most effective because that is how we perceive our products.

Does this sound familiar to you? I suspect that to some extent all of us have suffered the arrogance of conceiving a product and embarking on the development of that product in blissful isolation of those who will be the target users. The first product we came up with was Remote Forensics and it came into being becasue our Principal Consultant had to go to Lagos to acquire digital data for a client from a bank and he did not enjoy it so he came up with a way of acquiring that data without having to leave his office.

Very clever you might think and yes it is but spending time with our clients discussing the ways that they might use this technology has resulted in a vast range of other enhancements and features that would not have seen the light of day had we just developed in isolation and had we spoken to them during development would have resulted in shorter production time.

With our latest product SPEKTOR Drive, we set up a User Group prior to developing the product. The aim was to discuss with the group how they might use the tool and develop it along the correct path for each specific type of user. The User Group tested it for us at each development stage and reported back with comments and feature requests.

The result of this has been faster development along the right lines. SPEKTOR Drive was ready for market months ahead because the development and client testing were integrated and few post development changes were needed.

There is an article here about Incubators that reiterates the advantages of quizzing your customers before developing http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/226282

Is traditional advertising dead for Business to Business transactions?

Reading through the plethora of business magazines that come through the post, how often do you look at or read the advertisements that accompany the articles and editorial? It would surprise me if the result was more than a few percent.

What are the advertisers that continue to use this medium hoping to achieve? A direct sale is unlikely, are they wishing for brand awareness, if so what is the value of brand awareness in the market place? Has brand loyalty been diluted by the increasing need to search for the cheapest price?

All forms of advertising act as a reinforcing agent, this works especially well for B2C. For example the adverts for Persil washing powder , reinforce the view that using this product allows the user to feel smug and secure that they are doing the best for their family by maintaining their place in the social hierarchy of the middle classes. But does this reinforcement work for B2B?

So if the advertisers are not expecting a sale, are perhaps hoping to add to their brand awareness what else might they expect from traditional advertising? Perhaps they are just saying “I am still here”, is it as simple as that and what is the value or the ROI on this?

"Advertising hasn't changed, it just has more respect for the results other disciplines can deliver," says Ray Gillette, president of integrated services for DDB Needham in Chicago. "Historically, brand management managed the advertising. Today brand management looks at strategy first, then media."

Debbie Stier, SVP, Associate Publisher of Harper Studio posed an interesting question:Is Advertising Dead? Or is There a Huge Opportunity for Interesting, Innovative, and Entertaining Ads to Emerge?

…it seems to me that advertising as it exists now may be dead, because it doesn’t work, but there is room, and in fact an opportunity, for advertising to become remarkable — to entertain or inform — or as Seth Godin would say, to be a Purple Cow.

If we listen to these comments, one answer could to be to be more innovative and certainly more diverse in the mediums used. Tradition methods of measuring ROI is of course looking at the bottom line, is the business selling more. In new media is there more to consider?

…next time we will examine the use of social media in advertising for businesses. Is this the way forward?

The best ways to promote your products and services

by Elizabeth Sheldon

We all want to promote our products and services to new markets and customers. There are numerous ways that are open to us to achive exposure and publicity. Lets explore those in a little more detail.

  1. Top of the list must be face to face presentations. There is no better way to enthuse a potential client with what you have to offer than by demonstarting to them and discussing with them their own needs and how those can be addressed by the product/service you have for sale.

  2. A good source of potential customers is an exhibition or conference where you will have access to lots of people with a common interest, that of seeing and understanding new offerings.

  3. Webinars - for those of you who export then webinars are a cost effective and powerful method of delivering demonstrations of products and services.

  4. Social media is another cost effective way to desiminate messages about you and your products and services if it is done in a sensible manner. Too many messages can be counter productive.

  5. A good website is essential today if you are serious about your business.

What do all of the above methods have in common? They all rely on WORDS to wholly or in part deliver the message. Nothing wrong with that you say and in some cases it works well, except that most people understand something so much better if they can visulise in pictures.

The adage 'A picture is worth 1000 words' is so true. You could write a 4 page  datasheet about your product or service or you could show a 2 minute movie outlining all possible scenarios and uses for your product or service. Which do you think the customer would view more readily...the movie or the document?

Check out our showreel here for examples of visual imagery and product movies here that showe in sequence how a product works and it used why not contact us to ask how we can make a visually compelling movie for your business to showcase your products and services..

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Evidence Talks Ltd
Willen House
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