October 10, 2019

Which Avenger can teach you a thing or two about marketing?


The moral leadership of Captain America? The empowerment of Captain Marvel? The technical wizardry of Iron Man? The poignancy of Hulk? The mind-games of Scarlet Witch? The Vibranium of Black Panther?


For me, it’s the genius of Groot.


I don’t mean in the first Guardians of the Galaxy film...

September 19, 2019

When I get to that point of chronic work overload, there are certain things I say to myself:


1. Make a list. Not lists. One’s enough.


2. Do the tasks in the order in which they’re needed. As a plan, it almost always works.


3. Try not to panic. Act calm. Walk deliberately slowly.


4. Try not to complain either. Nobody likes a moaner.



August 29, 2019

It’s fashionable these days to say research groups are out of fashion.


The argument goes that anything has to be better than eight respondents and a moderator chatting away in a characterless room, with a clutch of clients huddled the other side of a two-way mirror.


What’s bang in fashion are depths and ethnography.


It’s true, there are a number...

July 25, 2019

What’s the best way to describe a brand positioning?


A: In 1-3 well-chosen words

B: In a well-written sentence of up to 10 words

C: In a well-linked paragraph of up to 50 words

D: In a well-told story of however many words it takes


So who chose A?


There are all those classic examples:


Coke = happiness

BMW = driving pleasure

Apple = self-express...

July 4, 2019

“I’ve always had a thing about train tracks”.


So said a friend of mine as we walked up Snowdon over the weekend, alongside the Snowdon Mountain Railway.


That sounds ripe for an insight, I thought. “Why do you think that is?”


“I don’t know really” came the answer, as ever.


And despite the fact that we were only a quarter of the way through...

June 21, 2019

I have to confess I don’t always make it the whole way through marketing books.


If I scan along the shelf above my computer, I can see a number where the creases in the spine stop before halfway.


On the bedside table are a few more with bookmarks at various points. Top of that pile currently is ‘This Is Marketing’ by Seth Godin. I’m on page 160 and I’ve...

June 6, 2019

It’s time to accept the truth about purpose.


The debate may rage on about the emptiness of some of the statements or the hypocrisy of some of the organisations or the retro-fitting of some of the advertising.


But as a concept it has clearly won.


Company visions and missions remain, but they now gaze enviously at purpose, with its shimmering Sinek...

May 23, 2019

So, the Lloyds Bank campaign with the horses.


Perfect example of everything good about modern advertising? Long-term brand building. Broad target. Distinctive asset. Emotional response. Purposey end-line.


Or everything bad about it? All emotion and no meaning. A black hole.


In the latest in the series, a mare looks after her foal during a journey...

May 9, 2019

As a consultant, there can be a scary moment at the start of a project.


There you are with your programme and techniques, your experience and expertise, your understanding of people and brands, your belief about how it all fits together.


But you feel like you’re drowning.


It’s the information download.


“Here’s a wheelbarrow-full of data on...

April 25, 2019

What kind of brand loyalty do you believe in?


Do you still cling to the devotion of a Harley-Davidson tattoo or the passion of the first in line at an iPhone launch?


Or do you now camp out with the Evidencers and their protests that it was all only ever a figment of our imagination, a by-product of penetration growth?


I always thought a loyalist...

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