Hate networking? For many people, networking = job-hunting. If that is the only time you do it, then of course it feels like you’re on the back foot, and you’re asking for favours, neither of which feels good. So you get through it, get a job, and disappear into work. Until next time. If you dislike networking, you’ll only do it when you absolutely have to. But that just makes it harder next time. Doubly harder, Read More

Thought leadership | June 2021

“Never cross a river that is on average four feet deep.”

Curmudgeonly iconoclast Nassim Nicholas Taleb, whose ground-breaking books include Fooled By Randomness and Anti-Fragile Read More

Quotes | April 2021

How can you make time for long term actions when the short term is all-consuming? In hard times, like now, it can feel overwhelming. I see it among the marketing managers I coach. They can see how many areas need attention, but where to focus?

If revenue is under pressure, senior people often come up with ideas for the marketing team and get frustrated when they’re not acted on.

Let’s take an example. Read More

Thought leadership | March 2021

Coca Cola has a new campaign for 2021, plastered all over the cans, as well as everywhere else. The brand name itself has moved off the back to make room for people’s empowering slogans, new year’s resolutions, and general platitudes. It’s called Open to Better, and it’s billed as their “campaign for hope and optimism in 2021”. On-pack messages include:  

“I will take a break like never before”  

“What better time for us to be brave than now?” 

“I promise to be better just for you.” 

I like Coca Cola. Read More

Comment | February 2021

Are vaccines safe? What about that possible connection between the MMR vaccine and autism – no smoke without fire, right? You need to know this: that particular fire was lit by the very man who claimed he was trying to put it out. There never was a plausible link between the MMR vaccine and autism. The doctor who investigated it, Andrew Wakefield, did not think so either. But he earned himself a fortune by acting as if he did. Read More

Books | January 2021

Albert Einstein allegedly had a sign hanging in his office at Princeton that said, “Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.” As next year’s business plans are being finalised, pay close attention to the measures of success. A recent chilling example, from UK healthcare, shows why it is so critical to choose the right metrics.

This month the review into maternity services at Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Trust concluded that many lives had been lost there needlessly, Read More

Thought leadership | December 2020

Elections are popularity contests. There’s only one winner.  Successful marketing is also about being chosen, so is it a good strategy to be a bit Marmite? Or is it better to avoid extremes and be acceptable to all?

Many a brand manager claims that success will come from building a small but immensely loyal following. Marmite embraced the fact that some people can’t stand the stuff with its “Love it or hate it” advertising. Read More

Thought leadership | November 2020

The pandemic, and the ever-changing guidance for social interaction, has led to rapid changes in people’s behaviour. While falling revenues make it tempting to cut budgets, reduce activity and save money, some businesses have seen opportunity in the chaos. Changing behaviour is always a business opportunity, if you know about it and can move fast in response. Here are three options to consider.

+  Process and service innovation

Enforced change doesn’t have to be for the worse. Read More

Thought leadership | October 2020

Having too much choice can be paralysing. This was demonstrated in a famous experiment about jam, which may have inspired the “rule of three” much loved by behavioural economists – the idea that when you give people three price options, whether it’s three quality tiers, three product bundles, or just three different versions, most of us default to the middle one. A McKinsey consultant said it was the reason they now practise the 3 x 3 Rule, Read More

Books | September 2020

How much of the change that’s been forced on us by the pandemic will stick? What can businesses learn from it? The best way to answer that is to understand what makes people change their habits. Knowing that, businesses can enact change for mutual benefit without waiting for a crisis.

The BBC reported the case of a fish and chip shop which had offered a click and collect service for years to get people to pre-order, Read More

Thought leadership | August 2020