Twenty lessons from 2020: Finding our new normal

My last four blogs have looked at the lessons we can learn from 2020, focusing on Marketing, Business, The Economy and Society. What's very clear is that thousands of people, and hundreds of businesses, will sadly not survive, so we must look for green shoots and silver linings if we are to learn and to heal. This last year, horrendous as it was, provided a unique and incredible opportunity to get off the treadmill, [...]

Twenty lessons from 2020 – Part Four: Society

Following the first three parts of my 20 Lessons from 2020 - on marketing, business and the economy – part four is a slightly longer read, and looks at lessons 15 through 20, what we can learn from society.  The next and final part will summarise what we can all learn from 2020 and where we might go from here. 15. Zoom kept us together I couldn’t write a Top 20 without reference to Zoom. It’s been so prevalent, I [...]

Twenty lessons from 2020 – Part Three: The Economy

The first two instalments of my 20 Lessons from 2020 looked at marketing and business. This piece focuses on the lessons we can learn from the changes to our economy, highlighting three of the sectors, and the one demographic, that have been hardest hit. 11. Will streaming finally kill off the multiplex? In the late 80s, the death knell sounded for cinema as annual admissions hit an all-time low (around 54m p.a). But it [...]

Twenty lessons from 2020 – Part One: Marketing

Well here we are, the start of a brand new year, although for many of us the only evident change is the number on the bathroom scales…  Ever the optimist, I wanted to look back at some of the events of last year and see what lessons we can learn as we head bravely into 2021.  So here’s part one of my 20 Lessons from 2020, starting with a game on my home turf, marketing. 1. [...]

The inconvenient truths

I recently watched a programme where a group of obese people shared their stories and sought to understand each other’s points of view whilst staying together in a house.  Amongst the group was a disruptive ‘body positive’ woman who literally closed her ears to the painful truths the group shared.  Not surprisingly, her business model was based on denying the significant medical evidence that obesity had a detrimental effect on health. Also not surprisingly, [...]

Authentic brand purpose? You bet it is

Gillette launched their new ‘The Best a Man Can be’ campaign yesterday and it’s brave and brilliant. Some have criticised the marketing wisdom of this and the overt display of ‘brand purpose’. It’s fair to say that brand purpose has been used and abused in recent years (see Pepsi’s Kendall Jenner fiasco for just one terrible example), but here it’s completely appropriate.  Ads for male grooming products have traditionally celebrated a mild form of toxic masculinity and sexism.  Something [...]

Wunderman Thompson? Am Really Wundering Why…

WPP's recent decision to merge the J.Walter Thompson brand into Wunderman, to create Wunderman Thompson, has prompted much consternation in the ad community – especially amongst alumni like me.  Discarding such amazing brand heritage is astonishing, particularly when that brand is synonymous with the invention of advertising, and doubly so when it's only four years since they reversed a previous decision to ditch the full name for the more ‘modern-sounding’ JWT, having realised it was [...]

M&S. The writing’s on the wall

It’s rare that I write a follow-up piece to a blog, but this one seems to be writing itself.  The willful deafness of M&S is a business-failure case study in the making. Back in July, I wrote a piece about how M&S were committing the cardinal sin of business, which is to ignore the views of their customers. It clearly touched a nerve, proving to be one of my most popular pieces and receiving [...]

Can M&S turn things around? Only if they start listening

Poor old Marks & Sparks.  Rarely out of the news, although these days it’s more often gloom and doom in the business pages than a glowing piece in the fashion supplements. Their latest set of ‘disappointing’ results, which show food sales also starting to tank, triggered a further slew of premature obituaries.  In Marketing Week, Mark Ritson bases a piece on brand equity on M&S’s predicament.  He sounds the death knell, concluding that any [...]

Live life online? How ‘unconcerned’ are you?

I recently posted a blog about how poor digital marketing practice risks damaging our industry.  With new legislation coming down the pipe, and both Apple and Microsoft recently facing down the US Government over data access, data privacy and protection is certainly a hot topic. At a recent, excellent, TMW Influence session, the panel explored the marketing challenge of Privacy vs. Personalisation, and some of the contradictions and confusions affecting both marketers and consumers. In 2012, [...]

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