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...

April 4, 2019

Three innocent little words. Anybody could give you a perfectly adequate definition of each one.

   

But put them all together and they become fairy dust. Sprinkle anywhere and your standing in marketing will be magically transformed.

   

Until Tom Goodwin comes along on LinkedIn and tries to spoil all the fun.

   

A lot of people in marketing and advertisin...

March 21, 2019

If I wanted you to feel noticed, I could put you in the spotlight.

   

If I wanted you to feel safe, I could build you a wall.

   

If I wanted you to feel independent, I could tell you the story of a maverick.

   

If I wanted you to feel nurtured, I could listen to you.

   

If I wanted you to feel sociable, I could ask you to a great party.

   

If I wa...

March 7, 2019

“OK, three tomatoes are walking down the street - Papa Tomato, Mama Tomato and Baby Tomato. Baby Tomato starts lagging behind and Papa Tomato gets really angry, goes back and squishes him, says ‘Ketchup!’.”

   

As Uma Thurman says to John Travolta in Pulp Fiction, after getting an adrenalin shot to her heart as a result of snorting heroin thinking it was cocaine, ...

February 21, 2019

Say I wanted to get you to use less plastic.

   

The problem is I don’t know you. I don’t know what you do currently or how you feel about plastic pollution.

   

I also don’t know your deeper motivations around the issue. Where’s a Need Map when you need one?

   

Maybe I can build one up. I’ll picture you coming into contact with what others are doing.

...

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