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 [...]

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 [...]

Deep Fried Crickets and Beetroot Yogurt, Anyone?

One of the things I love most about working with the hospitality sector is their constant drive to innovate. Bars and restaurants are always on the hunt for the Next Big Thing, and even those extreme ideas, which start life in the scientific kitchens of chefs like Heston Blumenthal, eventually filter their way down to more everyday establishments. I’ve been looking through some trend reports to see what’s predicted for 2015. Baum & Whiteman’s excellent summary [...]

Time for a New Way of Working? (Part Two)

Back in 2011, I wrote about how I thought The Apprentice was really missing a trick. A golden opportunity to showcase all that’s great about teamwork and entrepreneurship replaced by a focus on bitching, back-stabbing and rewarding bad practice. The new series started this week and in its 10th year, we have the same old (enjoyable) nonsense. A bunch of sharks so focused on ‘the sale’ that they don’t care who they trample on in [...]

By | 2017-01-04T19:51:29+00:00 October 16th, 2014|Business Strategy & Development|0 Comments

Time for a New Way of Working? (Part One)

A blue skies, out of the box, brainstorm, yesterday. A recent house move prompted a long overdue clear out of my office. Leafing through a folder of old team ‘training’ documents from my days in corporate life, I was struck by how little impact these sessions had had on the day-to-day running of the business, being so disconnected from what we were actually trying to achieve as a team (“you’re a blue person, [...]

By | 2017-01-04T19:51:29+00:00 October 6th, 2014|Business Strategy & Development|0 Comments

It’s The Summer Holidays! Where Are We Going?

Now here’s a funny story.  Recently, I was discussing a brand strategy project with a client and one of their (non-marketing) board members - who wasn’t directly involved in the project.  As I outlined how a marketing strategy must to be aligned to the broader business strategy to be fully effective, he turned to his colleague and said, “What is our strategy, anyway?” Aside from the *ahem* obvious concern that a board member was questioning the existence [...]