November 3, 2016

The first time I saw the New Zealand rugby team I was eight years old. My dad took me to Twickenham to watch them play England on a grey early November afternoon.


We parked in a side street near St. Margarets, by a little bridge over a stream. He and I then joined other tributaries of people on the Chertsey Road until we reached a great tide of humanity by the...

October 20, 2016

Did you realise you’re a cognitive miser?


Don’t worry, we all are. Ever busier lives combined with limited mental resources means our brains tend to seek out solutions that require the least mental effort.


So what we do, effectively, is answer easy questions rather than hard ones. As they say, we ‘satisfice’ rather than maximise. A good enough decision...

October 6, 2016

There’s a strange move at the moment towards dismissing the value of an expert. Not in every field of life, luckily. We’re not seeing a growth in the NHS of self-taught neurosurgeons.


But marketing ‘experts’ have come in for a particular battering. It’s got to the point that, when two marketing people disagree on an issue, one tries to clinch the argument by s...

September 22, 2016

High Fidelity, the 1995 Nick Hornby book turned into the 2000 film with John Cusack, is the story of a 35-year-old man wrestling with relationships and commitment. But it’s also a parable on the danger of too extreme a Discernment need.


Here’s one of the best scenes from the film. Rob, the main character, has broken up with girlfriend, Laura. He’s moping aroun...

September 8, 2016

The argument for brands focusing on mental availability goes something like this.


If you want people to choose your brand, it has to be available to be chosen.


That means first, it has to be physically available. People have to be able to find it.


Assuming they do, it then has to be mentally available to them. They must notice it. When they do, t...

August 25, 2016

There’s nothing like the first half of a holiday. Time stretches out ahead of you and slowly the stresses and strains of everyday life ebb away. And if you can force yourself away from your phone, an unusual feeling appears over the horizon. Freedom.


But around halfway through, reality starts edging its way back into your consciousness. You resist it li...

August 4, 2016

There used to be a targeting model called the 4 A’s. Availables, Acceptors, Adopters and Adorers. The idea was simple. First, you decided which of these was your best target for growth. Then you worked out how you wanted your brand’s relationship with that target to develop.


The model was laid out left to right, Availables to Adorers. The Holy Gr...

July 21, 2016

OK, I admit it. I do have rather tidy bookshelves. My desk can look like I’ve finished for the day when I’m actually still working. I can often think of a better way of other people doing things. I work for myself. But a ‘freak’?


There’s been much talk of Control recently. Most obviously, the Leave campaign said the UK was go...

July 7, 2016

‘Independence Day’, for me, is Bruce Springsteen’s saddest song. It tells the story of a son’s relationship with his father and how the time has finally come for the son to leave home:


Just say goodbye it’s Independence Day

It’s Independence Day this time


On one level the son simply wants his father to accept the fact that nothing is going...

June 22, 2016

Are you feeling the fear? Can you smell it? It’s everywhere. Remainers and Leavers, politicians on both sides, big and small business, countries inside and outside the EU. 


So where are you going to put your cross? In 24 hours we all have to decide. In about 48, we’ll know the outcome. Then we'll have to live with the...

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