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, [...]

Disruptive. But not always in a good way.

The ‘on demand economy’ and the 'disruptive' brands that are creating and supporting it is the current buzz in the marketing world.  In the last week, I’ve attended two presentations where the likes of Uber, Airbnb and Deliveroo have been held up as great examples of a new way of doing business. Putting the customer experience at the centre, relying on crowd-sourced reviews, shaking the complacency of established brands and service models, moving to a [...]

Licensed to spam?

Last week, I wrote a piece about how poor digital marketing practice is damaging our industry.  At the heart of this is not just how brands are failing to build meaningful relationships with their audiences, but the fact that they're often actively disengaging them. Like many areas of marketing practice, addressing the basics is not rocket science, but it does take work.  Putting yourself in your customer’s shoes will help ensure they’re truly engaged [...]

A recipe for marketing failure?

Poor, beleaguered BBC. Only our Eton Mess of a Government would think it needs bringing down a peg or two. The rest of us (and much of the world) think it’s a bloody amazing institution that we’re all very lucky to have (much like the NHS, but that’s another story). My TV license is half the price of my basic Sky subscription but provides immeasurably more information and entertainment every month. However, this week’s online [...]

RIP Orange, We Loved You. A Eulogy.

The future was bright... Now that EE have admitted they are 'phasing out' the Orange brand, I thought I'd repost this blog written in September 2012 - when EE were carefully denying any such plans. It's just unbelievably sad that corporate 'squabbles' and egos led to the demise of one of the most amazing, customer centric brands of the 20th century.... (Original Post 12/09/12). So yesterday, ‘Everything Everywhere’ started their about-turn on the [...]

What’s In A Name? Quite A Lot When That Name Is J. Walter Thompson…

There was a little bit of agency news this week that made me very, very happy.  Nine years after they dropped it, JWT is reinstating the name J. Walter Thompson. It’s been announced to mark the agency’s 150 year anniversary - the perfect time to celebrate the uniqueness of this once amazing agency. To those saying ‘so what? It’s just a name’, please let me enlighten you.  Mr (later Commodore) James Walter [...]

Ad Nauseum? The 12 Deadly Sins of Advertising

Unbelievably, this August marked 25 years since I started my career as a lowly graduate trainee media buyer at J.Walter Thompson.  So to celebrate this milestone, I thought I’d compile the 12 Deadly Sins of Advertising, as no matter how ‘sophisticated’ our industry has become over the years, there are some crimes that just won’t go away... 1.  Pointless Corporate Ads.  Fire up the cliché generator and pick, in any order, sweeping shots of rainforests, [...]

Lessons from the Old School

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been lucky enough to attend several incredibly interesting and diverse events - from a Marketing Society talk by Andrew Cracknell (one of the original, English, Mad Men), through to an event that showcased the very latest in marketing innovations from around the world (the ‘Seek’ event, hosted by Essence Digital). And what struck me most was this; advertising may well have turned into a ‘brave new world’ of digitised, [...]