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...

December 6, 2018

If you want marketing immortality, come up with a quote like this by Ted Levitt:


“People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill. They want a quarter-inch hole.”


It’s over 50 years old now and still going strong. Even Seth Godin uses it in his new book, ‘This Is Marketing’.


But he thinks Levitt didn’t go far enough because nobody actually wants a...

November 22, 2018

In the end we’ll all have to wait and see about ‘The Boy and The Piano’.


Wait until January for the Christmas post mortem. Wait for the full-year results to see if John Lewis recover from the 99% first-half fall in profits. Wait to see how many stores they have open in five years’ time.


Until then it’s open season on the ad itself. That's the price you...

November 8, 2018

All brands need an idea behind them.


It’s hard enough working out what that is and capturing it in a few words. But it can be even harder hanging onto that idea as a brand grows, as competitors react and, particularly, as owners change.


So all rise, please, for Aunt Bessie’s.


They’ve been selling their frozen Yorkshire puddings, roast potatoes an...

October 25, 2018

As if by miracle, the stars have aligned in the marketing firmament to spell out a single word.


It can be seen and heard across the land, from the conferences to the comments, the books to the blogs. It’s the answer to all our prayers for growth and profit.


And the word is ‘reach’.


All the themes of the day appear to congregate here.


How p...

October 11, 2018

Thursday morning and here I am. 13 years, 8 months, 1 week and 4 days since I started working from home.


The Mac has chimed and the iPhone’s charged. A mug of tea steams.


There’s lots to do. Start with what’s needed first, always best.


I do think I’m better at this home-working lark than most.


Some crack almost immediately.


Either t...

September 27, 2018

Coming out next month is a book called ‘Eat Your Greens’, with the sub-title ‘Fact-based thinking to improve your brand’s health’.   


Published by the Account Planning Group, it’s a collection of views from the great and the good of marketing opinion.


The editor Wiemer Snijders has also come up with a clever way to promote the book. He asked each c...

September 13, 2018

“You are, you’re always on your phone. You look at it as soon as you wake up and last thing before you go to bed. You watch TV with it in your hand. We can be right in the middle of talking and then there’s that alert sound and you go straight to it. You even unplug my phone before it’s charged up so you can charge up yours, which is really annoying. You’re definitel...

August 30, 2018

How do you think the global brand director of Häagen-Dazs, Jennifer Jorgensen, chose to describe the target for her brand’s big new repositioning?


A. Millennials

B. Adults who eat premium ice cream

C. The Instagram generation

D. The millennial inside everyone

E. Someone called Lily


If you said A, your eyes probably rolled as you answered. As com...

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