Monday, December 20, 2010

Contingency plans...

So important you can’t afford not to have it?
In a modern economy supported by a super information highway where news is travelling on par with the speed of light, a contingency plan is the single most important part of your strategy.
In this landscape we are constantly seeing brands failing when the unexpected, unforeseeable and ultimately inevitable happens. Brands spend a lot of time on creative marketing, management and resources on building the brand that when the proverbial hits the fan they have no options, plan or further resources to implement, so they watch and hope it doesn’t fall too hard.
A contingency is a provision for a certain event in the future. This may or may not come to fruition, but if you’re spending precious resources building a brand for a future financial position there is equal as much probability that the unexpected will happen. So develop a contingency that kicks in as soon as the outlook shifts.
A contingency plan should:
Always be ‘on’ gathering information, data and analytics in the background & foreground.
Be relevant to your market and your consumers
Reach your opinion leaders and brand loyal consumers first (they can take some hard work off your hands)
Be revisited as often as sales forecasts (future sales haven’t yet occurred, nor too has the unexpected brand damaging news- they could both occur or not occur)
A contingency plan- Think of it as your brands seatbelt.

Monday, September 20, 2010


Mid last month, Coca Cola and Facebook teamed up to bring to life this very cool and very social project for this years Coca Cola Village. Have a look for yourself...

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Franck Muller

This gentleman was born in Switzerland in 1958. From a very early age, he developed and nurtured a growing interest for all things mechanical. From an early age he was disassembling all the machines in his house to study how they worked. As a teenager he collected antique astrological instruments. He then joined the Geneva School of Watchmaking, graduated with flying colours and then chose a very difficult path to follow but he had enough devotion, passion and interest to create his own watchmaking company and a very successful one at that- Franck Muller. (It’s fair to say that Franck Muller has gone on to sensational influence the global watchmaking industry.)

So now, consider my before mentioned question: “What have you done over the last 12 months that aligns your interests and passions with your future employment?” Franck Muller could name a few, so many that he could launch his own company. If some of the applicants out there had half the ingredients someone like Franck had then sky is the limit.

You will create your own job through your devotion, passion, and interest FOR the industry. An occupation should be your devotion, interest and passion remunerated.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Failing to make sense...

Every now and again there are some things which fail to make sense to me.

Why are school uniforms still so unfashionable, uncomfortable and impractical? If our youth are spending 75% of their adolescent lives in clothing with has no practicality, style and or comfort there seems to be little thought injected into why it is the way it is.

I understand tradition, but every Olympics the nations deliver traditional, alternate and practical uniform offerings for their athletes. Now, how is it relevant in today’s society that young adolescents are wearing short skirts, hard shoes with limited support, over sized blazers all with out of date styling and colouring.

Can they not create some art? Create a uniform that would be better suited to the nature of the youth and the fashions of at least the last 10 years?

What if just one school revisited the uniform with a modern thought process and an understanding of their students needs?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The very busy generation

If you are busy, you can just read the words that are underlined.

Most of us are busy...getting more busy.

We are all busy, we are all busy doing what everyone else is doing and doing things that if we had a real choice we really wouldn’t do it at all. It’s part of life, the ups and the downs and the plodding along the ground- well at least that is what we tell ourselves.

Busy you see, really isn’t a response to how you have been travelling, it’s an excuse. It’s something we say when we actually cannot remember the exact thing we did 3 hours ago let alone 3 days ago. It’s an excuse as to why we have been engaged in work we wouldn’t do if we had the choice or if we could find another way to spend our day. It’s an excuse for the reason we are in the position we are in.

We are getting very good at being busy and that is the very reason why we think we have no choice at all.

Highly efficient people are not busy, they are actioning and shipping. In fact most highly efficient people will almost always seem like they have all the time in the world, that it’s their time and the rest of us ‘busy people’ are skipping to their beat.

We ‘busy people’ often say ‘If I was a millionaire I would do this, if I was a rock star I would have this, I can’t wait to retire etc.’ Whatever the descriptor they use; millionaire, rock star, retiree is irrelevant it is basically us busy people saying that if we had achieved a certain level of efficiency we would be doing things differently to what we are doing right now. We believe the highly efficient people leading their lives are not doing what we are doing, they are not busy.

This is true, they are actioning and shipping and consistently.

Achieving an outcome you are passionate about (actioning and shipping) is the first cure for ‘busy.’

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Middle, The Market and The Media

Two kids gather in the woods and begin to pick berries; they pick enough to fill their jumpers full and stop to make a plan. They plan to walk into town and sell the berries. So up and off they go into town, they find a spot just under the clock in city centre and start calling out ‘Berries for sale!” They sell a few, but not all.

One of the kids goes for a walk around the town and continues to shout “Berries for sale” He sells a few more berries but not all. He stumbles across an old box of matches, stops to pick it up and begins putting his berries in the old box. He runs back to his friend and continues to help him out by yelling “Berries for sale” with the old box in his hand.

A lady comes over and asks, what is in the box? Berries, the kid responds...’are they the same berries she asks?, yes they are! And do you get them in box? Yes you do, he says, are they the same price she says? No they are 5c more he says. ‘Sold!’ she says.

The next week, the kids go through the town and gather all the old match boxes and run up to the woods to start picking berries. They fill all the boxes with berries and sit down to make a plan. They decide to each go their separate ways to the nearest town to start selling the berries.

“Berries in Boxes for sale!” they scream

Two months later:

“Special Berries in boxes for sale”

1 year later:

“Bring your box, pick your Special Berries”

The two kids turned out to be berry berry successful.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Mind Sets

Consumer buying behaviour:

The web can be broken down into a calculus of mindsets, assumptions and theories.

Be entertained

e.g. Games, blogs, forums, porn

Be informed

e.g. News, Wikipedia, learn, google, websites

Be social (a branch of ‘entertained’ highly personal to self)

e.g. Engage, meet, network, connect Facebook etc

Be Transactional

e.g. Banking, ecomm, shopping, pre-shopping- the intent to purchase; a certain mindset that allows for searching, browsing that may or may not lead to a physical purchase.

The psychology of the internet:

The mouse takes ownership of the future, part of the human brain sacrifices its control to the mouse and allows for it to determine the future of the online experience. E.g. a link may be clicked on out of habit, to see what lies on the other side. Yet the overall mindset of the experience is owned by one of the calculus above.

People can switch between mindsets however the opportunity to deliver a message is filtered by the intent of the experience. E.g An advertisement on Facebook promoting a ‘sale of any given product’ will receive much less ‘click through’ than if it was positioned on ebay.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

the very Super Markets

Supermarkets will become a lot more ‘super’ in the next decade. Rightly so, they can’t just give in to their fast emerging competition- online. Internet retailers are attracting more unique visitations and selling more products than ever before. Do the research on how Woolworths are tracking compared to Amazon.

Supermarkets and retailers will always survive, in what capacity I am really not too sure. I think a few of the big guys will hang around and withstand the online storm a while longer, but I think it’s a case of, for how long?

Consumers are becoming more forward thinking; their modern networked lives are very automated, regimented and planned. Therefore they are purchasing accordingly and taking advantage of online shopping. Where you can take as long as you like, compare all products in the category, make an informed purchase decision, pay immediately and then instruct where you want the goods delivered all the while sitting in your comfy chair with your unfinished work document still open on your desktop. Make sense?

So just how do the supermarkets and retails compete? Technology- think online, in store. Think about how you can generate revenue when your sales are dropping and online figures are sky rocketing. Think about:

  • Loyalty smart cards- Triggering a whole new shopping experience that remembers your past purchases, brand favourites and alerts you of promotions of the day.
  • Eye ball tracking- Cameras that detect the gender of a consumer and digital adverts change accordingly.
  • Intelligent Trolleys- equipped with GPS RFiD, navigation style on board screen and infrared scanning also linked to adverts that are aisle specific. This is also to cater for a proposed 'personalised shopping' experience- The more you shop the cheaper the items.
  • Self replenishing shelves
  • Smart phone compatible products.
  • Self check out.

So stay tuned for the next developments in high street shopping. The day is not far away when we can enter a shop, scan our smart card, pick up a trolley or basket, use our smart phones to research promotions and specials, load our basket then push it through an infrared beam which totals the sum of all products and then commence a self check out. Hang on…isn’t that what I can do online right now?

Thursday, March 11, 2010


A little girl was depressed growing up, feeling no one shared her thought, loved her, no vision no future-counterpoint

Someone told her 23 words...

“Every time you walk under the sun, its kissing your with its shiny love. In the rain, the tongue of opportunity licks you”

What do you believe in?

Just a thought.

Cezanne, Ferdinand Porsche , Picasso, Jackson Pollock, Michael Jackson, Mandela ,Anselm Kiefer, Ricky Gervais, Andrew Carnegie all did it. They all did it in different times, with different inspiration and they are all resulted in one outcome- Leaving a legacy far greater than all others around them at the time, even today they are selling out, causing continued controversy or further inspiration and the topic of conversation in plenty of class rooms.

When you have a chance to do something, do it with the greatest of gusto or don’t bother doing at all. The world doesn’t need more mediocrity, it doesn’t need someone else that responds day in day out ‘not bad’ to a question about how they are.

You will not leave a legacy or a story to be told some other day by putting in ‘not bad’ efforts.

No one gets in the way of a moving truck/no one will get in the way of your gusto.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

something wrong with this sentence...

Get your free limited edition 2010 Diary now!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Empire of dust

I was asked to speak to a young group of individuals about career choices, the future, how to get what you want and above all how to sustain your motivation for a ‘better’ tomorrow.

I started compiling a few thoughts, getting my ahead around the right angle to propose this thought process/processes when I was watching the Prime Minister discuss a few current affairs. He was talking his way out or into yet another controversy and it occurred to me that for the majority of his role as Prime Minister of a Nation he was under fire, under scrutiny and under the pump.

The challenge here was not in the 'challenge'; it lay in the ability to employ foresight. When the dust settles how will it all unfold? Being able to employ this thought process alone will liberate you, give you breathing room and allow you the confidence to deliver to the task at hand.

The Prime Minister looks over an empire of dust; the greater the ability to see what it will look like when the dust settles the greater the serving of the role.

To paraphrase my little talk touched on the following:

Most of us are good; our job NOW is to find out how good?

Success starts when you know there are only ever two outcomes; Winning/Learning.

The future is sleeping; the loudest, the most courageous, the innovators and the kindest (the list goes on) will be the only ones it will wake for.

So my little talk went something on the lines of; Yesterday is gone, tomorrow doesn’t exist (yet), and all you really have and will ever have is NOW.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Successful mistakes

A good friend rang me late last year and said he ‘has had enough and he has nothing more to learn here.’

By his account he has had enough of his job, his lack of workplace camaraderie, his colleagues all working for different goals, he was tired of being undervalued, shut down, his skills where not being utilised to the full extent.

My friend was an ambassador of change; he had the ideas, the will, but not the power. He was a cog, he was being under resourced and he was frustrated.

After a few minutes of listening to his rant, I mentioned my thoughts;

Success only happens twice- Once in someone’s mind and twice in the real world. It will only ever happen twice. There can be variations of that success, a similar business model, a similar outcome to a competition and an almost identical product. It will be slightly different every time- Success will never be replicated.

Mistakes happen infinitely. The same mistakes happen frequently, businesses fail in the same way continually; a competition will be lost by making the same mistake, people will lose loved ones by making the same mistakes.- Mistakes will always happen again.

Focus on the mistakes, there are plenty of them, you will never learn enough of them, you will never be able to avoid all of them but the more you know and understand the less the likelihood of them reoccurring in your own equation.

My friend was closer than ever to achieving his own slice of success as he was surrounded by it every time he went to work.

n.b. My friend is still working for the same company, but recently got a promotion.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Who's your company?

These days there a lot of people with a lot of acquaintances, people that want to spend time with you when they want to, when the sun is out, when there is a memory on the table or a lack of things to do at their end. Yes, they are friends, friends that do not care overly much other than the company and the passing of time with someone- Anyone.

Friends it seems are becoming passé, good friends even more so. An older women mentioned to me the other week that she cannot believe how many friends all the younger generation have these days- she people watched at her local cafe for a few months and saw one group of 20 something girls with different people, only once were they in the company of the same people. In her time, she proclaimed “I had two friends, best friends “

We are all spending a lot less time with the same people, and a lot more time with more people. Is it a good thing? It’s a good thing if the company you are keeping is making you a better person but too often we keep company for the wrong reasons.

If you can’t comfortably and with no awkwardness hold the hands of the ones next you, you shouldn’t be standing there for long.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Head in the sand

Too often companies are sacrificing their brand equity by putting their creative and media responsibilities in the hands of people that actually do not care.

The in house marketing team are ‘too busy’ about the real world because they are focusing on their insular world and rarely devising the strategy anyway so why would they care how it gets implemented.

So some companies outsource to agencies...

Most agencies operate on a retainer or a perecentage of transactional media, some are performance based (all should be performance based) and some even ask for a fee from the brands on top of the percentage kick backs the suppliers are offering.

Let’s face it, the suppliers write revenue and they don’t overly care about the agencies because they are not the brand, they only hold the responsibility for a period of time. These Account execs, managers, directors receive a nominal wage per year (few get commissions on top of that) and their time is broken up between the accounts they hold. They didn’t build the brand, the empire of which the hold the budgets for. They just spend it. Sound like a spoilt little rich kid doesn’t it?

So when the agency for company ‘x’ says that they are not interested what do you think they are really saying? When they don’t reply to emails, or even entertain a thought, how do you think the brand would feel? Isn’t this their job, to care about the brand?

But then again how often do you meet a discerning little rich kid?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The modern tour guide

Over the next 6 months we will see a very different media landscape. Over the next 3 years there will be a very different thought process being applied to all media action. Of course there will be the age old, archaic and traditional theories that will be strewn out against any brand not willing to think outside the square. What square?

I implore you to think about your objectives under a night light of seemingly endless possibilities.

e.g I am your new Tour Guide...

In 2010, I’ll be co-coordinating virtual tours via Skype on your mobile phones. I will be taking you on a journey through Google maps to the Seven Wonders of the World, all in 4 hours. I will be selling ''screen shots' as e-postcards in the Facebook marketplace.

You can book your tours by sending me an email or find me on foursquared.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Im happy to discuss, if you don’t scare me.

Both in business and personal life it can be difficult having efficient and productive conversations. Conversations that create action and update the current status quo (deliver desired results.)

Because of this (or in spite of this) most businesses and people operate within a comfort zone. They employ a way of thinking and actioning that is comfortable and ‘just’ works- The comfort formula. It happens across many industries and infiltrates into nearly all departments.

‘We already use a similar service at the moment’ upon further analyses, they do use a similar service that is more expensive and delivers minimal results and maximum comfort.

Making people aware that they could possibly be doing their jobs better, using better services or even better people can be a scary thing. It means they have to open their mind, challenge what they know, make a hard decision and be ready to be scared.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Planaholics and Goalism

Plans are important as they give us a certain discipline, a procedure and a line of attack. More often than not the plan becomes the goal- “everything went according to plan.” This is not the objective, nor the goal nor the outcome. You do not want a plan to be put together and the objective/goal been to fulfil that plan.

Plans take you in a direction, any direction. Some plans succeed, some fail. They also do not give the actual goal enough credit, as when plans are finalised they do not allow for much scope- scope can achieve a goal more efficiently.

The key here is the Goal, the objective, the pot of gold, the outcome and the re-evaluation stage. The time when the goal has been achieved and then we can sit down and re-evaluate if that goal has put us in the position that we intended to be in?

Then we start over.

Focus on the goal. What exactly is it that I want to happen? Increase sales by 12%, grow my data base by 12,000, save 15,000 dollars this year.

Put simply; Plan: To drink more water.

Goal: drink 6 glasses a day. (3 before 3pm and 3 after 3pm)

Monday, January 11, 2010

"your just two eyes in a box,
and a fairly small box at that!"

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Are we all getting the point?

The papers print old news.

With the speed of modern media channels and the rate at which we are absorbing news, information, social interaction and entertainment increasing so dramatically It comes to no surprise that the traditional media channels, press/magazines/TV are now broadcasting (more than likely narrowcasting by now) old news.

This is not to say they can still have a play at the market for a decade or so longer, but as the younger generation, sitting around 8-15 y.o are inhabiting the world wide web so frequently it will nearly be impossible for the Traditionals to keep up.

Things progress and things digress. The web is progressing, the traditionals are in need of digression- traditional media need to take a path of interest, or specialty, they can no longer be the source of breaking news, the go-to platform for all things relevant, the current affair broadcaster-as the Web has this covered.

They need to digress, publish creative content. There are no surprises the most popular issues of the local rag are the ones containing memorabilia, or the ratings boom when a TV show pays tributes to a particular individual or event.

Most of us are getting our news, info and entertainment 2-5 times a day 5 days a week with 2 clicks- we are no longer waiting for the old news in the paper the next morning.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Action Man

Do something,

Do something Now!

Now, Do something better.

All you need is love

Do you love your job?

Do you love your boss?

Do you love your responsibilities?

Do you love getting interrupted by new opportunities that could benefit the company you work for?

Are you going to love the outcome?

A little love goes a long way, especially in Business. Most people are similar, not the same, but very similar. They will take the same road/decision/opportunities that were taken by the person sitting in the role before them or the year before. They will take few new leads, enter few new conversations, reply to few inbound emails providing new opportunities and take few risks (let alone, merely understanding the opportunity that was given to them). Why? Well why not, more often than not it’s not their company (and never will be), it’s not their money, and they don’t love the outcome.

Everyone in a similar position is acting very similar to you- And because of this there is an opportunity to do something different and DO SOMETHING!

There are very few people in the Business landscape that are open minded, that DON’T believe they know it all, that admit when something needs to be fixed-even if it isn’t broken (yet!)

Here is a thought; If your consumers acted the same way you do when you launch or offer a new product, where would your company be?

A risk is safe- a risk an opportunity- an opportunity is an operation on your company.

n.b. 'Banksy' image displayed above.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Happy New Year

2009 year was a big year!
It was a big year for many reasons; there was a very big financial crisis, big decisions to be made, big opportunities on the table, big developments occurred, little companies became big companies and big companies expired, big people made big mistakes, big celebrities past away, little media continued achieving big results, and started demanding big budgets...just to rattle off a small few.

The big year is over and an even bigger year awaits, A new decade awaits, It hasn't unfolded yet- it is nothing more than an empty space for you to build whatever you desire. There is no future, the future is now.