Monthly Archives April 2014

The new frontier in marketing isn’t what you’d expect!

campbells2Over the last decade, marketers of branded fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) on both sides of the Atlantic have struggled to withstand the onslaught on their market share from challenger and own-label brands.

The result of increased competition – largely fuelled by globalisation – is that some marketers have been forced to radically re-think their retail and marketing strategies in order to stay ahead of the game. So it may surprise you to learn that packaging innovation has become the ‘go-to’ marketing strategy for these FMCG marketers in order to preserve and boost profitability.

US-based MeadWestvaco Corporation (MWV), a global leader in packaging and packaging solutions, has just published the results of its research with 7,665 consumers in UK, Germany, Turkey, Russia, South Afri...

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Why God is still big box office this Easter with ‘The Passion of the Christ’

JCWhen Hollywood A-list Mel Gibson decided to make a movie that would chronicle the last 12 hours in the life of Jesus Christ without securing any outside funding or distribution, most Hollywood studios thought he was nuts and the movie was going to be one of the biggest flops of all time.

Indeed, Mel Gibson had his doubts too, but decided to put his own money on the line for a project that he felt so passionate about.

In an interview with the venerable Hollywood Reporter in 2002, Gibson said: “This is a film about something that nobody wants to touch, shot in two dead languages. In Los Angeles they think I’m insane and maybe I am.”

Undeterred and with a bold vision and purpose that was deeply personal, Gibson’s own Icon Productions supplied the entire production budget of $30m, with...

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The Power of Colour

diversity-paint-brushes-horizontal-don-mcgillisThe choice of colour has become one of the single most important elements in creating a brand. I remember having a conversation about this over lunch with a very good friend and mentor of mine, Wally Olins CBE, who sadly passed away this week at the age of 83.

Wally was an extraordinary person in many ways and was in fact the first person in the UK to have launched a brand consultancy back in the 60s.

Wally understood – perhaps more than any other person of his generation – that branding is intrinsically linked with colour.

It was something he felt passionate about and when asked to create a new mobile phone brand by Hutchinson Telecom after its acquisition of a controlling stake in Microtel Communications in the early 90s, Wally is credited with having created Orange, one of the most ic...

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The passing of the grandfather of modern design – Wally Olins CBE, my friend and mentor dies

Wally-Olins

It is with great sadness and sorrow in my heart that I have to announce to the Guru in a Bottle community that my friend and mentor Wally Olins CBE has died after a short illness at the age of 83. 

He was an inspiration to me in my career and mentored me when I was tasked with re-branding the Royal Military College of Science.

I will always remember Wally as being incredibly charismatic, a brilliantly creative thinker and he had a rare and special gift – the capacity to take a keen interest in others around him in a very generous and warm-hearted way.

I had the pleasure of having lunch with Wally several times (he always insisted on paying!) and I always left cherishing the advice he often gave to me about marketing and about life in general.

We both shared a passion for India and I alw...

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Why marketers should focus on “sacrifice” rather than “satisfaction”

sadChoice is now something we all take for granted – from the type of product or service we desire, the features we look for that best suit our particular needs and requirements and even how much we’re prepared to pay for this.

Traditional marketing thinking went something like this: “Increase levels of customer satisfaction and give customers more of what they want is the key to commercial success.”

Well, the reality is somewhat different in 2014.

Much of the time, most of us don’t think too deeply about how happy we are about the product we’ve just bought at the supermarket or the service we’ve received at the local shoe repairer or whether it completely fulfils our needs.

But now and again a new product will arrive on the market or we’ll find a more convenient service and we’...

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How to avoid “Communication Breakdown!”

communication breakdown

Ever felt you were speaking to a colleague or client and not getting very far? Felt like you could be on another planet? All too often we suffer communication breakdown. Well, the fabulous Andy Bounds, author of one of my favourite books, The Jelly Effect has identified Top Ten things to avoid a communication breakdown.

  1. Back-to-back meetings. When there are no breaks in between, when exactly are people supposed to prepare or follow-up? I guess there are only two answers: ‘at home’ or ‘never’
  2. Pointless communications. You know all those comms – all those reports, meetings, conference calls, emails – that achieve nothing? The ones that nobody would mind if they stopped?
  3. Too irrelevant.  Sometimes, unlike the previous point, you do need to have a certain communication...
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Does culture matter?

spock-beautyAccording to American anthropologists Clyde Kluckhohn and Alfred Kroeber, culture “is a shared social blueprint for life – the constellation of values, assumptions, beliefs and behavioural norms that define a group of people.”

Well that’s the academic perspective for you, but how does this work in practice? Let’s say you have a prospective major customer in Germany and arrange to meet in Berlin over lunch.

Knowing how to read and speak German will be an obvious advantage when it comes to ordering lunch or entering into discussions but how will this serve you in being able to recognise the communication patterns of your guests that goes beyond the difference in languages being spoken?

Richard Lewis, a British linguistic expert and author of a fascinating book, When Cultures Co...

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