“Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else.”

Judy Garland Read More

Quotes | October 2014

“The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.”


Benjamin Franklin Read More

Quotes | August 2014

A friend, let’s call him Alan, confessed to me that, through a combination of devotion to Nick Cave and a senior moment, he had pre-ordered a new Nick Cave album on Amazon twice, three months apart. Realising his mistake when two CDs arrived separately, he contacted Amazon to arrange for a return and a refund. Their response: we understand how these things happen. Don’t bother to return it, we’ll credit your account anyway.

Now imagine some other possible responses. Read More

Thought leadership | March 2014

Where do you stand on the debate about whether brands, in their role as advertisers, should use their influence to make Twitter and Facebook clean up the nastiness that’s to be found there?

Let’s review the situation. Most media channels need advertising revenue. So brands have power and influence. Equally, brands want to reach their target markets efficiently, i.e. cheaply. Media that get attention, for whatever reason, can offer large audiences, which attract brands. Read More

Thought leadership | August 2013

It’s hardly the end of capitalism, but the horsemeat scandal is showing large food retailers and manufacturers how it feels to be a banker. Meanwhile consumers – or people, as we might style ourselves – don’t know who we can trust. Marketing is seen as manipulative, and delivering profits is represented in the media as exploitation of customers. Sam Laidlaw of Centrica announced decent but hardly sensational results last week – and had to explain to John Humphreys on the Today programme why they hadn’t forgone profits for the sake of “the squeezed middle”. Read More

Comment | March 2013

It’s easy to take a swipe at banks, and tempting to think it was all about the good old days, when the bank manager knew his (mostly, his) customers personally. Dave Fishwick of Burnley Savings and Loans seems to think so. Frustrated at seeing loan applications from apparently credit-worthy local businesses refused by faceless administrators, or even computers, located far away from honest Burnley – probably in the wicked South – he set up his own bank, Read More

Comment | September 2012

How brands grow: what marketers don’t know, by Byron Sharp

Based on analysis of twenty years of rigorous purchasing data from many categories and markets, this book debunks some of the myths about how marketing builds business success. An Aussie academic who worked with the great Andrew Ehrenberg of London South Bank University, Sharp shows how a lot of marketers focus on the wrong things, and tells you what you should focus on. Read More

Books | July 2012