Wednesday, 5 January 2011


So should they have changed? Surely the strategy remains constant whatever else?

That used to be true, for sure, but no longer when all around us the landscape is changing so unpredictably – when there are earthquakes in Yorkshire and floods in Queensland, Australia. As John Maynard Keynes said:

“When circumstances change I change my mind. What do you do?”

I’ve changed my mind.

In the Times of December 28th Peter Stiff wrote “advertisers seek a brand new world where corporate identity is king.” It was about Procter & Gamble and Arla Foods doing advertising reflecting their corporate credentials and values. Something Unilever and Reckitts are working on too although Kraft think it may interrupt consumers’ enjoyment of its brands. I think Kraft is wrong.

My life in fast moving consumer goods was performed within the liturgical belief that the mono-brand was king and that Heinz, for instance, was an aberration.

Today I believe provenance, values and the degree of trust a corporation inspires is what really counts in engaging the support of the customer.

John Lewis and their culinary sister Waitrose breathe their beliefs about life, their people and their quality and value story in everything they do so it’s unsurprising they score so highly in surveys.

It’s time to re-engage fundamentally with people who buy or might try our products.

Back as they say to the drawing board to sketch and colour in with bold strokes the story of why we are in business and what lasting excitement we enjoy in creating, producing our products.

And if you want to be inspired read about the teenager Fraser Docherty and taste and study his brilliant “Super Jam”…all of the leaden footed marketers should read, taste and learn from him.

2011 is going to be the beginning of a decade of earning and retaining trust, engaging with the minds and spirits of our customers and in building relationships not just performing transactions.

The truth will be our strongest weapon – so we’d better tell it. And the great thing about the truth is you never have to remember what you said….


SophieH said...

Good thoughts.

A 14 year old boy of my acquaintance sent out nine nicely written emails and four door-dropped hard copy versions last night at 9pm. Each offered his services for odd jobs and babysitting. He had six offers of work by 1pm today. That's a 46% response rate in less than 24 hours, on a DM budget of zero. I dream of a CPR like that.

Of course his success is based on the usual stuff like decent customer data, targeting, product and price. But perhaps it's also, like Jam Boy, and about being enterprising/enthusiastic and building relationships before he offered to perform credible transactions.

Richard Hall said...

Stories like that that humble us all.

I loved Seth Godin’s story in “Permission Marketing” where he contrasted shouting across a bar “Any girls here want to go bed with me?” – Broadcast Marketing – with the guy who fixes a date after a drink and tries to see if a relationship can be built that way – Narrowcast – one-to-one Marketing stuff.

The only thing ever wrong with Direct Marketing was it was written formulaically by men (always men) who believed if you underlined a lot of things and made outrageous claims and fixed your victim with gimlet eyed prose it would work.

It sounds like this 14 year old is smarter.

Does he want a job at WPP?