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 lesson from 2020 – Part Two: Business

Following on from Part One, Lessons from Marketing, the second instalment of my 20 Lessons from 2020 takes a look at the business world. 7. Flexible Working For many, this is the Covid silver-lining. It’s certainly one of the ongoing changes to the workplace that’s been greatly accelerated by the pandemic. Flexible, remote working is generally positive and here to stay, but it is a delicate balancing act. For those with the space (and appropriate, [...]

Flexible working needs top-down change

For any good manager, it will be obvious why adopting surveillance software to track an employee’s ‘productivity’ when they’re working remotely is a bad idea. Whilst it clearly highlights a wider issue of trust and empathy, it also points to a bigger problem with the traditional business model, and why some have felt the need to resort to this. Surveillance software that measures key strokes or time in front of a webcam is clearly [...]

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 [...]

Diversity + Inclusivity = Profit

Ah, the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness.  Unbelievably, it’s autumn already.  Always a funny time of year – the leaves may be going brown and the nights drawing in, but it’s also a time of new starts – back to school with a shiny new pencil case and a renewed enthusiasm. For much of this year, I’ve been recharging my mental batteries by taking some time out from the hurly burly of [...]

Time for a more level playing field

Last week, I went along to an agency-hosted panel discussion, which posed the provocative question, ‘Is the business of sport business as usual?’.  The event had a great line-up and was really well attended, but it's fair to say it didn’t go quite the way the agency had hoped.  A slightly unclear agenda was compounded by two avoidable errors; - the inclusion of a 'token woman' on the panel. This means absolutely no disrespect [...]

Kevin Roberts – Don’t Hate The Player, Hate The Game

So Publicis Groupe have suspended Saatchi’s chairman for claiming that the talented women who work in his agency reach a certain point in their careers when they actively turn down a promotion, as they “don't want to manage (the) business and people, (they) want to keep doing the work." Hmmm. In the interview, he also spoke about how ‘millennials’ (gah) want careers based on creativity and collaboration, and how the old rules of hierarchy and [...]

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 [...]

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