Ever had a boss who habitually seizes on something another business is doing and says: “Should we be doing that?” Social media is causing the same insecurity complex in the digital immigrant generation. It’s a sort of digital Fear Of Missing Out. Questions often asked include: how many Facebook friends does the brand have? Is everyone moving to Instagram? Will being on Pinterest make us cool? Can we do a partnership with Foursquare? Or, more likely: Now that we have our Facebook page/Twitter feeds/app, Read More

Comment | May 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

This advertisement was on the outside back cover of the Independent’s Saturday listings magazine, Radar, on 16th Nov. If these are deliberate mistakes then I don’t get the joke. Can anyone explain it to me? Call me old-fashioned, but a book retailer that can’t spell its own name somehow isn’t as appealing as it might be…

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Books, Comment | November 2012

Well it’s not rocket science, is it? So if good business is mostly common sense, here’s a book that lays it out clearly and simply, with a few guiding principles, and the recurrent theme of seeing your business as customers see it. According to Leahy, this means eschewing conventional market definitions and boundaries, constantly looking around and listening to customers for things you can do better for them, and then trying things out. It’s a good straightforward read, Read More

Books | November 2012