March 30, 2017

There’s no doubt which need has the most heroic-sounding definitions. Knowing your own mind. Going your own way. Holding your course. Keeping your nerve. Sticking to your guns. Staying true to yourself.


Independence is about strength of will. It’s the maverick in all of us, the part that doesn’t worry too much what others think.


Where you find the need,...

March 16, 2017

I think it was Benny, but it might have been Björn. The one with the beard, although now they both have one. Married to Frida with the red hair, not Agnetha with the blond, who was married to Björn. Although no one’s married to anyone anymore.


Anyway, the pianist. I watched an interview with him years ago, where he was asked how you write a song as brilliant a...

March 2, 2017

You don’t hear so much about brand essences these days. You still see them at the top or in the middle of brand models. But no one seems to talk about them any more.


Funny, because they used to be all the rage. The essence was the crowning glory of every brand presentation. “Because in the end, when everything else is stripped away, what this brand is all abou...

February 16, 2017

Sometimes you’re working on a needs research project and you get this sense that something’s missing.


The jigsaw is falling nicely into place - how people see the world you’re in, the central need, the different expressions of that need that you’ve found, how those needs explain the different behaviour, where the brands all sit.


But you stand back and l...

February 2, 2017

Imagine you have a snack brand. And Mark here is one of your potential consumers. He doesn’t buy your brand currently. How would you segment this world to help you get to him?


Mark is 32. He lives with his partner, Sophie, in Reading. They have a 3-year-old daughter called Molly and a dog called Bill. Bill’s his mate. He’s the only one in the house who’ll watc...

January 19, 2017

The best brief I ever got when working in advertising was on Felix catfood. I was at BMP and the client was Quaker.


At the time the ‘wet’ catfood market was dominated by Whiskas with 50% share and it had been like that for years. Felix had reached 6.5% but its position was weak.


So a relaunch was planned including, for the first time, advertising. The p...

January 5, 2017

I’m just going to set off on this one and see where I end up.


Where to start? Google, of course.


Wikipedia. Wisdom is ‘the ability to think or act using knowledge, experience, understanding, common sense and insight’. Sounds good.


But then Psychology Today. They think wisdom is hard to define but people generally recognize it when they encounter...

December 19, 2016

I have a theory about Christmas songs. Well, two. The first is that for 50 weeks of the year you see them for what they are - big old slices of cheesy sentimentality.


The second is that when they reappear in mid December, the one that makes you feel the most Christmassy is the one that most meets your emotional need at this time of year.


Let’s test this...

December 1, 2016

Is it more important to be honest or kind? That was the thorny old question tackled by my seven-year-old daughter’s class at their recent school assembly.


I have to say the arguments on both sides were pretty solid.


An honest friend is a true friend.


If your friend is honest, they may tell you something you don’t want to hear. The truth can hur...

November 17, 2016

All this vitriol, it’s like a disease.


Of course, we humans love to discuss and debate. Often we disagree and argue. And when that happens, some of us patronize or belittle or dismiss or insult or bully.


But the abuse is now turning into an epidemic. The US Election is simply the latest example. On top of all the xenophobia, racism and misogyny, the lev...

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