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 [...]

And The Award Goes To…!

Some men, winning the best MEN award - This week, Twitter was abuzz with companies congratulating themselves for appearing in the annual ‘Times Top 50 Employers for Women’ survey. Any survey that takes equality in the workplace seriously is to be applauded, of course.  The list features a great mix of different businesses – not just the ones you might traditionally assume to be ‘female friendly’ – lots of Financial and IT companies [...]

It’s not the weather, it’s not the ads. It’s the customer experience.

So here we are again.  Time for the annual ‘retailers post disappointing Xmas trading results’ headlines.  This year, I’m not looking at the correlation between their results and their ad campaigns, I’m having a think about the relationship between their results and the in-store experience. With retail sales overall up 5.3%, and some brands delivering up to 20-30% growth online, it shows just how badly the poor performers have done. Over at M&S (down 2.1%), [...]

Sorry sisters, equal pay isn’t simply a feminist issue

In the news again this week is the recurring topic of the ‘gender pay gap’.  Yet again we read that men earn around 25% more than women, and their bonuses are, on average, double. If you read my last blog, you’ll know I wear my feminist colours proudly on my sleeve, but here’s the thing.  This isn’t simply a ‘women’s issue’.  It’s more a working parent issue, and I’m a little fed up with all [...]

How To Be A Good Client (aka Top Tips for Marketing Directors)

Having previously written about how agencies can improve their pitch performance, I thought it was high time I wrote a guide for clients. Working as an interim and consultant, I regularly see examples of (often unintentional) poor client practice, so here’s my Top Tips for Marketing Directors.  It's not a comprehensive list, just a starter for 10, so if you have any top tips (or horror stories) of your own, I'd love to hear them... 1. Employ [...]

Monetizing Twitter. Surely There’s A Better Way?

For several years, the finest brains at Twitter have been wondering how to make some serious money from their Golden Goose. This week, they announced the launch of a new Targeted Keyword product.  The article in Campaign states it will be a “game-changer… early indications are that this will be of genuine interest to a wide range of clients”. I can’t be the only Twitter user whose heart sank at the news.  Seriously?  Keywords?  That [...]

Survival Of The Fittest? Don’t Make Me Laugh!

The horsemeat scandal and an aggressive piece by Mark Ritson in Marketing Week (Kill the Weak: It's the Marketing Way) has again highlighted exactly what’s wrong with modern business practice.  A basic lack of responsibility and morality which has enabled companies to build and abuse extraordinary levels of power. I know Ritson loves to court controversy, but this time he’s stepped over the line.  His ridiculous assertion, when we are knee deep in another breach [...]

What About Marketing’s Social Responsibility?

Back in February, I wrote a piece entitled ‘Time for Some Moral Marketing’.  My hope was that 2012 would provide the antidote to the widespread corporate, political and social immorality of 2011 (expenses-fiddling politicians, corrupt bankers, phone hacking, abuse in ‘care’ homes, riots…). We were all hopeful that the Jubilee and Olympics/Paralympics would provide the feel good factor we were desperate for.  Sadly, the Jubilee was an over-long washout but our athletes did us proud, [...]

A Valuable Lesson in Customer Insight

I was recently reminded of the importance of one of the most basic rules of marketing – never try to second-guess your customers. One of my current clients is developing a holiday centre in the UK countryside and I’m helping them with the branding, marketing and launch strategy. I started with all the usual things; spoke to key managers, visited the site, understood their business plans, did the desk research etc.  Next on the list [...]

RIP Orange. A Eulogy.

So yesterday, ‘Everything Everywhere’ started their about-turn on the promise that it was never going to be a customer-facing brand, by announcing the launch of “4EE”. Apparently, “it’s designed to ‘sit alongside’ Orange and T-Mobile in the cities offering 4G coverage”. To sit alongside while they work out how to phase them out, no doubt. My fellow ex-Orange colleagues and I are appalled that this is happening.  But I’m not surprised.  The Orange brand has [...]