Tuesday, 18 November 2008


There are four new Barclays in the UK. London, Birmingham, Manchester and Brighton. I was prepared to be grudging in my interest not ever having used Barclays but I was blown away.
It’s a big space with real people in open cubicles talking to customers down one side and a counter at the end for currency and straightforward transactions, loads of ATMs, a comfortable waiting area and a control, co-ordination area run by bright cheerful girls who direct you to the right place.
The floor seems to be limestone – no horrid carpet tiles. It’s classy, airy and Terminal 5 up-market. A place you wouldn’t mind spending some time.
Upstairs they have great but little, smart and functional offices and a waiting area that is really smart for business customers and big transactions.
This is the future and I like it.
Customers are being treated like important human beings and do you know I saw staff and customers talking, laughing and having a good time.
To end this when I congratulated John Varley he wrote a delightful – “I’m always here for you” letter in reply. And you know I believed him.
This is a revolution.

Monday, 17 November 2008


What price survival?

I am like Sir John Hegarty an incorrigible optimist – it’s all going to be all right.
But I do remember the late ‘70s and early ‘80s.

Marylebone High Street was a wasteland of charity shops. Businesses went bust left, right and centre. Britain was pretty well bankrupt.

We are in much better shape but one issue is preying on most minds. How will the price issue work out?

· Price is a huge issue right now in retail. The cheap supermarkets are doing really well. Expect further turmoil. Pity Tesco.
· There’s nothing wrong with the word cheap.
· Treasure Island as premium priced United Kingdom is called by the automotive industry is going to change.
· Everyone can ask for a discount and get it.
· Smart operators are buying long term relationships…buy my paper up front for a year and I’ll give you a third off.

Don’t be afraid of asking what you need but don’t assume you’ll get what you asked for.

Price is a dynamite new topic. But real talent and genius will prevail – it always does.


Thursday, 13 November 2008


A few observations. To have lost, given the unpopularity of George W, would have been really pretty extraordinary but the Democrats have hisrorically been noted for screwing up so I suppose anything was possible.

They won because they ran a truly brilliant marketing campaign.

1. They got a little money from a lot of people creating a huge donor base.
2. They did this through a brilliant digital campaign.
3. They outspent their competitor very heavily
4. They mobilised a huge army of active supporters – swamping McCain’s efforts
5. And they got the vote out
6. They had strategic certainty that their strategy was “change” and they didn’t change that
7. They didn’t panic when the Palin effect happened – the waited for it to backfire
8. They kept their man orating in his inimitable way and were true to the brand
9. They converted some key opponents like Republican Colin Powell
10. They were a remorseless machine very well led.

Admire classic marketing – you seldom see it as good as this.