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.


February 7, 2019

So you’ve always dreamt of owning an electric guitar.


Then one day you decide it’s time. The axeman cometh.


What awaits you is the most bewildering category you could possibly imagine.


Guitar Guitar, the on-line and in-store retailer, sell over 4,000 guitars, 2,760 of which are electric.


On their website, they list 64 brands. By ‘brand’ I...

January 24, 2019

“That new Gillette ad, it’s so patronising. How dare they think they have the right to lecture men on how to be men!”


“Well, they are a shaving -- ”


“And not just men but their own customers! Do they want to lose even more of them?”


“But they can’t just sit there waving them --”


“Have you seen YouTube? 1.2 million down votes.”



January 10, 2019

It’s all too tempting in marketing to stay up the shallow end.


There may be loads of people there and it can be noisy as hell. But at least you keep your feet on the ground. None of that over-intellectualising psychological nonsense.


The problem is you never learn to swim.


So you focus on short-term activation at the expense of long-term brand bu...

December 20, 2018

What’s your preferred way of ending letters, emails, texts or cards?


Are there times when the rules have to be followed, as long as you can remember your faithfully’s from your sincerely’s?


Odd, if you think about it, declaring your faith to an unknown person and your honesty to someone you do know.


And are there other times when it’s all about a...

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