Monthly Archives: September 2010

Marketing Week’s Cover Story on the Marketing Academy

Marketing Week’s cover story, Have faith in the future, is an in-depth analysis of the Marketing Academy’s Boot Camp, for which I conducted its International Marketing curriculum.  Marketing Week comments:

“Young marketers face a dearth of opportunities to develop their business and leadership skills and companies are frustrated by a lack of top-level talent. But a new Marketing Academy is molding tomorrow’s stars and inspiring marketing’s elevation to the board.”

The Marketing Academy Scholars are truly enlightened global citizens who are very worldly for their age – then again – they have grown up in a more globalized era than any previous generation and so they innately think and act with global awareness.

It is essential that as part of Marketing Academy’s curriculum in developing the next generation of future business leaders, they understand the tangible benefits of this worldly outlook that will include fewer conflicts and warfare as international commerce bridges people and cultures.  Given that, it comes as no surprise that the Marketing Academy sponsors include Google, one of the world’s most successful global brands.

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FSA’s Fine for Goldman Sachs – What Do You Call A Timid Tap On the Wrist?

As reported by Marketwatch:

Wanted: Lloyd 'Smallfine'

FSA’s fine is less than a slap on the wrist: Goldman Sachs’ fines in both the UK & US represent roughly 7% of earnings this year and 4% of last year’s profits. Goldman shares were
not only up nearly 2% in morning trading on Thursday, they’re up 14%
since the end of June.

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Judging the CIM’s Women in Marketing Awards

Having the honour of judging the inagural Chartered Institute of Marketing’s Women In Marketing Awards, I strongly encourage you to enter if you are a female marketer working on campaigns directed at women and are based in Greater London.  It’s a fantastic way to raise your profile, rightly gain recognition for your achievements and build your brand.

The inspiration behind The Women in Marketing Awards

After five years of annual events, the Women in Marketing Awards was the next logical step and it also coincides with the 100th year of International Women’s Day.   Ade Onilude, Event Organiser, shares what inspired her to create the awards:

I take inspiration from various facets:  On a very personal level, the awards pay homage to my late mother who I lost at a young age; she was a true visionary who knew no boundaries.  My father and brother have been truly supportive in encouraging me to ‘reach for the stars.’  I’ve also been inspired by my work environment at Swarovski where I’ve been honoured to meet true visionaries and innovators.  I take inspiration from the famous such as Michelle Obama, the late Anita Roddick, Audrey Hepburn, Women’s magazines and cult TV series such as Sex in the City.
Finally I’ve been inspired by the amazing women I’ve met since conception of the Women in Marketing event in 2004. From the team who represent the various branches of the Greater London Region, to the speakers and distinguished guests we’ve had over the 5 events. My greatest inspiration has been the attendees – some who have become friends, so launching the awards is for them.

Why Should You Enter?

It’s your chance to be recognised as a member of the Marketing community.  You can put yourself forward or nominate someone who’s inspired you. Have a look at the Women in Marketing Awards website to find out about the categories and how to enter – the deadline is Thursday, 23 September.

I’ll be joining the winners who will be announced at a glam red-carpet ceremony on Wednesday, 3 November at the May Fair Hotel in London. You can attend even if you’ve not entered the awards. Here’s a brochure for more information about the Awards, and hope to get your entry – good luck!

Will an American Diamond keep his lustre at Barclays?

Now that Britain’s biggest bank has an American CEO, will he change the culture of the business to infuse it with more of an American flavor?  As the former head of Barclays Capital, you could say that he’s already changed that organization to join the global banking fraternity which is fairly homogeneous anyway.  But the retail bank could benefit from more of an American service culture which could allow him to make his mark and capture share from other sleepy high street banks.

Mad Men Series 4 UK Launch Tonight: London Ad Men Discuss All Things Mad Men

Series 4: Betty, Peggy & Joan

Mad Men is an amazing phenomenon, and clearly strikes a chord with those in and outside of the marketing business.  Leveraging the show’s huge following in the US and UK, Banana Republic has partnered with the program for a 2nd straight year for its “Mad About Style” collection, reflecting the styles of the 60’s (were they that great the first time around?)  Recently, Mad Men entered a realm of the pop-culture pantheon that its creator, Matthew Weiner, says has surprised even him: Mattel has created versions of Barbie and Ken styled after four “Mad Men” characters.

Whether you want the Betty Draper look or Joan’s pencil-skirt look, it’s smart to be marketing nostalgia in these challenging economic times, which we know is what consumers do in seeking reassurance and stability in their lives.

Here’s Some Questions I Put to the Good People at Dare Advertising:

Q1. Does Mad Men’s appeal have little to do with advertising and much more to do with nostalgia?  And if so, what are we nostalgic for?  Why is the advertising industry used as a template for that era and why does it resonate so strongly in the present?

It’s that whole life was simpler back then nostalgia, it probably wasn’t but that’s the insight it taps into. They’re always doing one of three things – drinking, brainstorming or presenting to clients. Easy. No project managing, excel docs or annoying little details.

I think it links back to that idea of power there were only a handful of tv channels and media outlets back then, if you worked in advertising it was code for saying I am brilliant enough that the company trusts me to write a message that will go out to x million people. There were less brands but they were all reaching x millions of people every time, they needed the best in the business to make sure they stayed at the top. Anyone who could nail a decent ad became a rock star and the first wave of genuine innovation and consumer wealth amongst the middle classes suddenly consumers had money and therefore choice for the first time, as affluence grew so did media consumption and supply and the need for brands to be in those media channels with more and more eye catching / amazing creative

Hugo de Winton, Planner at Dare

Everyone in advertising it seems looks back upon the past with these rose-tinted spectacles where they could pull campaigns out of a hat and everyone would cheer.  A time where budgets were less limited and they all had ‘free reign’. It’s all about nostalgia, not really advertising that gives Mad Men its real appeal (it’s peppered with some truths I’m sure – but everyone loves exaggeration and stories).

Also the fashion and way it is shot is stunning, with exciting adulterous subplots all intertwining and all the mystery around the characters (bear in mind I’ve only just finished watching the first series). Tight family units existed, but we are reminded they didn’t always work then, so people feel less bad about them not working now. The men look like they are in charge, but the women are – seeing their role as covering for the men’s mistakes, generally keeping the ship quietly afloat and yet being able to play them at their own game just as well.

Like Monday’s article in the Guardian suggests about Britain and Saatchi’s in the 80’s – advertising for this era in America helped define the culture of the nation. They gave each person their role and from a purely feminist angle some of them really helped push towards more women’s rights. Give us a dishwasher – free up our time for more activities etc…

Planner at Dare

Q2 The Hidden Persuaders, first published in 1957, imparted the view that: “Millions of you are being secretly manipulated by evil ad-men who have wormed their way into your innermost feelings.”  This touched on a collective feeling that had been growing among consumers about modern society – a fear of conformity, manipulation, fraud, and above all, of powerlessness – and that this had somehow all been created to sell products.

Is this still relevant in advertising today?  What are your biggest challenges in getting the attention and buy-in from consumers?

Of course it’s still relevant. The premise for most advertising is that the product or service has a benefit; that it could improve your life in some way; that you’ll feel better for using it; that others will judge you favourably for having it. To maximise the impact you dramatise the benefit. But it’s the same in all walks from life, from politicians to parenting: people want other people to do stuff and they’ll try everything to persuade them accordingly.

The techniques and psychology of selling have come a long way since 1957 – in the digital space especially. For a start, everything is measurable, so advertisers can tweak messaging and media planning on the fly while a campaign is still running.

The biggest challenge is that consumers know they’re being sold to. How could they not? They’ve become fluent in the language of advertising and they become ever more sophisticated in consuming it – which is why all those ads from the 50’s and 60’s seem so quaint and naïve. Interruption isn’t enough. These days the buzzword is ‘engagement’. How can we encourage customers to spend time with our brand, to actively engage with it rather than just sit passively in front of the TV and have a 30” commercial wash over them?

Digital is growing fast and will continue to do so because it’s the perfect environment for brands to engage more deeply with their customers.

The other problem advertisers have had to contend with is the media fragmentation – so many channels, so many new ways to consume media – in the real world and online. But you can consider that an opportunity as well. With a computer on everyone’s desk and a mobile phone in everyone’s hand, advertisers have a way to reach customers wherever they are, whatever they’re doing. But the silver bullet has never changed: right message, right time, right place.

Jonny Watson, Associate Creative Director at Dare

Trying to defend working in the advertising industry to a lot of my friends has been quite a challenge – but I see it this way: It’s going to happen. If you can get into the industry and try to help the big companies do better things themselves – however small, then it’s a step in the right direction. By helping them come up with ‘Ideas that can be advertised’ we are trying to improve them, and then tell everyone about it.

Consumers are more savvy these days – and if they see a hole in a brand and its messaging, they will pick at it. The key is for a brand to be clear about what it is doing, so that people don’t feel like they are being tricked. If you do something worthwhile – then good things will happen to you. It’s all Karma at the end of the day  ; )

Planner at Dare

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Today Wednesday, 8th September, I’m leading the Marketing Academy’s Faculty for its International Marketing curriculum.   The Marketing Academy provides a great forum for industry leaders, marketing gurus, academics, entrepreneurs and marketing practitioners to inspire, develop and coach an entire generation of future business leaders.  This is an overview of the program highlights I’ll be covering in my half-day seminar:

How Can You Win in Overseas Cultures?

To hit the ground running – saving yourself time, money and embarrassment while you build your overseas client base and networks – you must be fluent in the business cultures of your overseas business partners if you’re going to be an effective business developer.

Whether you’re encountering these other business cultures while traveling the globe or at your desk via e-mails, this highly-practical and relevant help gives you actionable information about yourself and your international colleagues’
business practices and cultures, making you a more fluent corporate diplomat.  The objective: to enable you to succeed in the ambiguous, unsettling and diverse international business environments which you are now targeting.

This program is based on the principle that understanding the environments and contexts in which international business partners operate develops executive citizen diplomats who can operate successfully while representing their companies and their countries.

Marketing Academy Programme Objectives

  • to reveal how individual behaviours/actions affect the perceptions of executives in a variety of other business
  • to provide participants with frameworks, insights and tools to be able to create action plans and directly apply the
    learning to their business activities
  • to offer participants insights necessary to create effective communication within international colleagues and/or team
  • to reduce the levels of stress, frustration and conflicts based on simple misunderstandings
  • to deliver valuable knowledge concerning what makes other business cultures “tick”
  • to raise the probability of building long-term, profitable business relationships that are fruitful and lead to the
    achievement of business and professional goals
  • to help participants begin the learning journey toward being true global diplomats


This ½ day Marketing Academy interactive session is infused with small group activities to provide frequent opportunities for the Marketing Academy Scholars to share personal experiences, ask questions and try out ideas and new behaviours in a safe and confidential setting.  The process is engaging, fun, experiential and effective.

The Scholars will be working in small groups to actively debate and network while expanding their global business competence.

The Scholars will apply a variety of learning methods and materials during this “Working with the World” programme while exploring first-hand, real-life examples of business situations to clarify the concepts presented.

Session topics include:

  • What are “global mindsets” and “business cultures”?
  • Models to describe business cultures
  • Managing cross-cultural dilemmas
  • Role plays: Communicating across cultures
  • Leading complex international teams
  • Assessing and developing your global mindset

Learning Techniques

  • Lively presentations of core material
  • Question and answer sessions
  • Large group discussions and small group exercises and report-backs
  • Learning workbook including copies of the presentation materials

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Netflix Wins with Apple TV Partnership and Blockbuster TKO

Netflix Wins with Apple TV Partnership and Blockbuster TKO

What Blockbuster didn’t accomplish in achieving a “transformation” is leveraging its customer base before they jumped ship.  Now even YouTube is getting in on the movie rental market and may eat Netflix’s lunch given the marketing muscle (and budgets) that its owner Google has.  Google is also muscling in on the TV set-top box market imminently, so it’s well-played by linking in YouTube’s vast and ever-expanding content base.

With the announcement of Apple TV, their partnership with Netflix, as well as offering YouTube as part of the package, we’re seeing the convergence of devices as computer and TV become integrated.

Convergence was predicted many years ago – BUT – the ultimate question is:

  • does this improve the quality of life for the consumer?
  • does it make life easier, happier or cheaper?   If I can’t tick at least two of those boxes, this trend won’t catch on
  • We always need to keep focused on the consumer – or is this product just for Apple geeks?

The messages we need to hear should be:

  • what about for non-Apple users?
  • does it work with Windows platforms?  Or are those users (the vast majority of the population) excluded from “The Club?”
  • Is Apple ‘narrow casting’ and not ‘broad casting’?

Read Business Week‘s coverage on the Apple TV announcement and  more on Fast Company‘s excellent piece on the demise of Blockbuster.

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