News, Views, and Random Thoughts

It's been a busy summer, not least for personal reasons such as trying to get my daughter through the trauma of her GCSE exams. She did fine, since you're asking! But as any working parent knows, sometimes balancing home and work is a hectic juggling act. Especially when foreign travel is involved.

In May I was asked by the pharmaceutical giant Roche to head up their discussion panel at this year's World Health Assembly in Geneva. It was an interesting discussion on what needs to be done to address the growing cancer burden, encompassing Universal Health Coverage, the global cost of tackling non-communicable diseases, and government commitment towards screening and treatment.

The audience included ministerial delegations and health policy experts. It was a lot of hard work, but good fun and the discussions went down very well. You can read about it here.

I'm now looking towards the Autumn with several projects on the go, one of which involves the launchof a new show for a Turkish TV company, and one which involves the World Health Organisation.

Hope you had a good summer, and do get in touch if I can help with any of your conference moderating needs.
Author: Shiulie

And so we come to the end of another financial year. As I sit here sorting out my financial accounts, I’m reminded of how many conferences I’ve been to over the past twelve months. Not as a delegate, but as a moderator.

This is one of the things I love most about my job - chairing events for organisations as diverse as Unilever, Build Africa, and the WHO. Not only do I get to meet some amazing people, but the debates I moderate include policy-makers and decision-takers and help to push forward some important agendas.

Last year, for example, I was heavily involved in the UN’s drive to tackle Non-Communicable Diseases. I moderated discussions involving bodies such as Access Accelerated, Union of International Cancer Control, the pharmaceutical industry, and the Kenyan government. My work took me to Geneva, Berlin, New York, Nairobi and Mexico City. It was like a globe-trotting version of Question Time, but instead of British politics we were talking about global healthcare issues.

Moderating a debate in front of an audience, with panellists who have strong opinions and even stronger personalities, is an art. You don’t have to be an expert in the subject matter – though having a basic knowledge helps. But you do have to be able to direct the flow of information, cut through the waffle, ask the pertinent questions, and – most importantly – not let the discussion be highjacked by the loudest voices. That way everyone, including the audience, gets the best out of it.

I don't always work with international organisations - I find it just as satisfying to help smaller companies and businesses. If you need a moderator or an event host, drop me an email. I love working with new people, and I’m not as expensive as David Dimbleby.
Author: Shiulie
I've recently taken on two new commissions to write blogs for very different companies - a creative design agency, and an energy efficiency provider. Both are thriving enterprises, but the hard-pressed bosses don't have the time to provide regular content for their websites. However, both know it is a crucial marketing tool.

Firstly, blogging helps to drive traffic to your website. Whether you're speaking directly to consumers, or you're a B2B, regular news and articles on your site helps you reach more customers. You can share the link to your social followers on platforms like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn and give them a reason to click back to your website.

Secondly, blogs can vastly increase your SEO. You can use relevant keywords and topics in your articles which make you much more visible in search results. And that's gold-dust for businesses. Research shows most users seldom make it past page 1 of Google search results. Fresh, relevant content can put you ahead of your competitors in online searches.

Thirdly, blogging helps you get closer to your customers. It provides a connection so they can get to know more about your business or product, allows them to leave comments or ask questions, and engenders trust by providing a source of information.

Writing regular blogs isn't easy - I find I spend more time crafting other people's articles than my own. You only have to look at the sporadic blogging on this site to realise that! But I do love writing them - so if you want a blog but you don't want the hassle of writing them, get in touch.

I'll tailor the blog to your business. If you want a look at some work I've already done for other clients, take a peek at the design agency website KJC Creative at

Author: Shiulie
It's often said that turning your hobby into your job can kill the passion for your pastimes. I recently took the risk and spent a fantastic few days on the River Tay in Scotland making a film for the Cargill salmon fishery. The shoot didn't feel like work for a minute and after the cameras and the drones were packed away, I had the chance to relax with a few days fishing. Sadly the salmon were not in the mood to take a fly but there's always next year. We're very keen to develop our fishing film offer so do get in touch if you wish to use video to promote your business. Video is now the most powerful way to reach the customers you need to connect with. Video is 1,200% more likely to be shared on Facebook than a text based article.

Author: Simon

It’s not yet two weeks since a small majority voted for Britain to leave the European Union.

In all of the political chaos that’s followed, Mark Carney the Governor of the Bank of England has been a rare stabilising voice. Within hours of the result the Pound went into freefall and banking shares dropped alarmingly. Mr. Carney stepped in to calmly reassure financial markets that Britain’s currency and its banks were still in a strong position. Any emerging risk would, he added, be mitigated by the central bank. Within a week of the Brexit vote the markets looked stable and the currency freefall had been arrested.

For millions of businesses facing the uncertainty of the Brexit vote, a clear well communicated message has perhaps never been more important. You’ll want to come across more like Mark Carney and less like the spokesman for a major London property agency who told the Evening Standard:

“The whole thing is a disaster. The uncertainty will cause markets to crumble and who knows when that’s going to get better? There’s no end to how far prices could fall. If you are a vendor you’re going to have to sell at a much lower level.”

To me that just communicates blind panic. The message to buyers is, if you buy in London now, you are likely to lose a lot of money. The message to vendors is, don’t bother putting your property on the market as you won’t get the price you want. Both positions are enormously damaging to the spokesperson’s business which relies on buyer confidence and a good supply of properties to sell.

This was a missed opportunity to show the company was prepared for the consequences of Brexit and that even amid the uncertainty there were still opportunities. They could have communicated a calm, professional response and a message that would bolster their business rather than damage it further. Something like this would have been so much better.

The Brexit vote wasn’t expected but London will remain one of the world’s great cities even outside of the EU. The drop in the value of Sterling means London properties are now cheaper for foreign investors so we expect that sector to continue to thrive. Vendors may have to revise down their expectations a little but with the right property and right buyer there are still great deals to be made for both parties.

None of us really knows where the Brexit vote will end as it’s apparent that the political class has no plan. But as the process of leaving the EU moves forward a clear message that supports your business will be critical. And as Brexit takes shape it’s likely you will have to revise that message to keep up with the emerging realities of life outside the EU.

Our media trainers can help you develop your message and coach you to deliver it confidently in all sections of traditional and social media.

Author: Simon
Another full-on week. Through Aero Productions, I've been helping a Turkish network broadcaster set up a UK operation in London. TRT World intends to start broadcasting daily bulletins from here shortly; sadly you won't see them in the UK (unless you stream the channel live via their website) but that is sure to change, as the channel has grand international plans.

A hardworking team from Istanbul have been fitting out TRT World's plush new studio in Oxford Circus. They've finally installed the new set, which is a bit of a relief as the temporary one had a flimsy plywood desk that teetered if anyone so much as breathed on it. I think you'll agree it looks pretty good.

Meanwhile, some interesting news from the drone world in this week's Guardian newspaper. It seems there's been an explosion in drone images posted on social media - Instagram reports more than 1.6m pictures are now tagged #drone, and video views have gone up by 40%. We have found increasingly that businesses and individuals are now routinely requesting drone images as part of their promotional package.

The problem for professional outfits like us is that drones are easily available - from £350 on Amazon - so anyone can fly them, and people are often unaware of the rules and regulations regarding drone operation. In many cases it's illegal to fly drones without permission. Nevertheless, aerial images undeniably add an extraordinary 'wow' factor to stills and images, and are delivering a whole new dimension to marketing strategy.

So, onward towards the EU referendum vote. Who knows from which side of Europe we'll be writing our next blog? The future is an undiscovered country.

Author: Shiulie
It's been a busy week for Aero Productions. First, we decided we needed a brand new website to match our brand new business model. We still fly drones, but we have now expanded our services to encompass a full range of video and stills images for websites, conferences, social media, and corporate films. Plus, we now provide media training as part of our portfolio. Well. let's face it. Simon and I have been in the media business for several decades between us, so who better to show you how to deal with reporters?!

We've also been engaged in our individual projects. This week, I was dispatched to Hong Kong to make a video for the stem cell research company VetCell Therapeutics Asia. It was part of a series of films commissioned by ITN Productions. It's fascinating stuff; we were filming with dogs suffering from osteoarthritis, a painful condition making it very hard for them to walk. They were taking part in a clinical trial, one of the first of its kind in the world, to see if stem cells from healthy donor dogs would reverse the symptoms. My cameraman Mark had to don a surgical mask to film the trial in progress, which involved injections deep into each hip joint of the canine subjects. We'll know in three months if the theory works, but already the vets involved say it looks very promising.

Meanwhile Simon went off to the white cliffs of Dover to film inserts for Aljazeera's special coverage of the upcoming EU Referendum. He flew the Inspire drone 500 metres out to sea, which produced some amazing shots. It also allowed the reporter, Barnaby Phillips, to do pieces-to-camera standing on a clifftop while the drone hovered above him. The final pictures were very impressive, and should be on screen by the end of this week.


We thought we'd have time to catch our breath this weekend - but then Simon got a last minute call. Could he film a wedding at Moor Park Golf Club? Of course he could. No rest for the wicked.

Author: Shiulie