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 [...]

Did the Labour Party deliberately hire an interim?

Since his election, hundreds of articles have been written about Jeremy Corbyn's  electability and whether he even wants the top job.  But I wonder if the Labour Party, understanding the need for dramatic change after Ed Miliband's performance, have  actually appointed an interim... It takes a brave organization to employ someone completely different from the usual hire, but as Einstein once said, doing the same thing you’ve always done and expecting a different result is the [...]

By |2017-01-04T19:51:26+00:00September 29th, 2015|Interim Management|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+00:00October 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 [...]

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%), [...]

Marketing to Women Needs More Than ‘Just The Facts, Ma’am…’

My December blog took a look at the big retailer's Christmas ads and came to the conclusion that the ones that misfired did so because they didn't correctly connect with women.  Not surprisingly, as women are the major organisers - and spenders - at Christmas, this almost directly correlated to those who subsequently posted poor trading results. This topic is high on my agenda at the moment as I’m working with a brand that is [...]

Valuable Business Lessons From Team GB

So the party’s over and, sadly, normal telly service has been resumed. Before our collective good mood disappears forever, let’s reflect on Team GB’s stunning performance and the lessons business leaders, as well as future athletes, could learn from it. A few weeks before the Olympics started, I attended a conference at which Dominic Mahony was speaking.  Dominic is an ex-Olympic pentathlete, who now helps both athletes and businesses improve their performance. His fascinating talk [...]

By |2017-01-04T19:51:35+00:00August 15th, 2012|Business Strategy & Development|0 Comments

Time for some ‘moral marketing’?

If you’ve read any of my previous blogs, you may well have spotted a bit of a recurring theme; my hope that businesses could be, well, just a bit nicer. I’ve worked for some incredibly customer-centric and genuinely caring brands (Orange, Smart Cars, RSPB, NHS Blood Donation) and have long been of the view that it always pays dividends to really look after your customers (or donors), and to not – in any circumstance - [...]