system two

system two
start-up thinking in the enterprise

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Arresting Julian Assange is an absolute disgrace...

Thursday, 4 November 2010

".....properly measuring performance is the cure for bullshit."

Interesting post from oliver Blanchard here on failure. here

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

interactive design thoughts....

First impression marketing brand and participants 2010 update

View more presentations from Helge Tennø.

Little bit of interactive design, little bit of social - don't agree with it all - Krug is a genius - but interesting perspective....

Thursday, 7 October 2010

an overview of data web marketing...

sent this as as an email - then realised it might be useful to share.... 

Publishing data…

Heavily related to the idea of the semantic web (linked data / the web of data / web 3.0) – something Tim Berners lee has been banging on about for 10 years now – but which is starting to become a reality, good overview here

In a nutshell (just as we were doing in music 5 years ago, just like Billy beane was doing in baseball (brad pitt is now playing him in the movie), and just like the doctors were doing @ Chicago hope analysing heart attack victims in “blink”) – you can make better decisions, once you start putting data sets together

So everyone publishes their data – and then everyone gets the chance to generate vastly more powerful insights…that’s the overarching theory

from a marketing / brand perspective…

once people start using your data – in applications, in data modelling etc – your brand is disseminated with it – good overview

kiva, tesco, guardian, mastercard, new york times, BBC – all getting into it in a big way….

The real early adopter win here – being the brand, in your sector, which defines the ontology, which everyone else uses – so river island, should be defining an ontology of fashion, we as an interactive agency – should be defining our ontology, B&Q should be defining an ontology of hardware / DIY / retail – more here

some more links here

Publishing in RDFa format…

Once you are publishing data (or preferably before) – you then mark up your data semantically (a layer of data describing the data). Most common language of this layer is RDF (and RDFa). It’s the basis of the guardian’s business model, google snippets is based on RDFa data – and most interesting recently –the 3r strand to facebook’s open graph announcement earlier this year – the fact that facebook now understands (and prioritises) content if it is in RDFa format (they have their own slightly different format – but the principle is there)

Thursday, 16 September 2010

The Communications Rainbow

What is it?

The Victorians were obsession with classification. Our modern industrial world was built on a simple, pragmatic thought - that to classify, was to understand. Darwin, Edison, Livingstone - all took journeys armed with this simple belief.

The "Communications Rainbow" is homage to that era. A simple, visual, classification of marketing.

What does it do?

The rainbow tries to put tactics (2nd ring in) into perspective - I've often frustrated by the small amount of time, money and effort allocated to digital thinking. To online planning. To making sure, money spent, is spent wisely. By demonstrating the layers of thinking on which the outer, tactical rings should be based, I wanted a tool to illustrate to clients, just how important having a business, marketing and brand strategy was - before they started to think about "marketing" as an ongoing task within an organisation.

In visually describing the huge variety and choice we have when trying to engage users, the rainbow also aims to be a tool to expand client horizons at the tactical stage. Listening and engagement, data web marketing, sCRM, content strategy - these areas of new marketing are all too often still nice to haves - in an always on world - they need to be placed at the heart of a marketing mix. Conversely, the ring of "products" acts as a mind map of the kinds of products and services, marketing agencies might think of offering in the new world.

To my mind, many digital agencies need to move out of their "lick and stick", "design it, built it" mentality - and understand that they need to offer (and clients are crying out for) a more consultancy style approach. One which offers a broader suite of training and consultancy products -as well as the "practical web" stuff.

Away from tactics, I wanted a tool to help place digital marketing in a wider marketing and business context. Marketing is the interface between the business and the user. Done right, it must have the opportunity to inform product design, IT, PR and HR. This can't be just a nice to have - it is essential in a conversational, always on world - where users expect their feedback and interaction to mean something.

Next steps....

The Communication Rainbow is a starter for 10. A personal take on the world, full of my own prejudices and blind spots. I would love others to contribute to it. I hope to have an interactive version of it soon, which will allow other planners, and marketeers, to add to it. There is much that needs to be improved. It nevertheless represents a start, something to which I hope, others will want to contribute.

On that note - I need to thank Joe Crump, at Razorfish, who has kindly allowed me to use a part of his excellent Digital Darwinism slides here in the filters section.

Creative Commons License 

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Digital planning...

As some work I've set myself before taking on a new role, I've been sifting my blog posts and tags - this was particularly interesting - ostensibly its about digital planning - but it speaks to the new agency model as well

Measure everything that makes life worthwhile...

Social acknowledgement and delayed gratification

Knowledge compression

Great data visualization talk - covering linked data - but particularly interesting on "knowledge compression"

Monday, 6 September 2010

This rocks.....

the mainstream discovers buddhism...

Thursday, 12 August 2010

The Internet of things....

Think I might have posted this before - explains the internet of things very well...

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Great talk from head of Pepsi social media....

Long but good....

Individualism and the web...

If accept the web is based on - collaboration, the collective, mutual support, communities and ultimately - sharing

Where does individualism fit in? When you come to think of it - the web is fundamentally at odds with a core tenant of the American psyche....

Its like the web is a way for the American mind to become more European - without having to admit it!

I don't know whether this is on brand - but its bloody funny...

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

60 second - social business - to do...

1. Organisational change - start the journey towards a hive...

2. IT - ask your head of IT to migrate all services to the cloud and to ditch old technologies - if he refuses, fire him, if he doesn't start calling him a marketing technologist

3. sCRM - ask your new marketing technologist

4. Data - start collecting, organising and tagging business data sets - develop semantic mark up plans and release an API in beta

5. Training / awareness - invest in a range of educational initiatives to get staff up to speed with the new world (modify office spaces, increase access to flexible working, implement a Fedex day etc)

6. Marketing - (earned / owned / bought) - stop bought, start earned - demote owned

7. Product - open it up to the crowd

Sunday, 11 July 2010

the social world hampers endings...

Endings, of all kinds, are important. They push our minds to acknowledge reality. They enable us to move on. At an ending, we mentally archive sections of our lives, so we can experience new things. So we can grow.

Without endings, without honoring them and acknowledging them, we are left weaker as individuals. We simply end up carrying too much baggage.

And yet...the digital world isn't good at endings. Relationships, work, feelings - they live on in cyberspace. We are constantly asked to reconnect to our past.

Can't be good for us....

Clever chap Nietzsche....

"From the start Christianity was, essentially and fundamentally, the embodiment of disgust and antipathy for life, merely disguised, concealed, got up as the belief in an 'other' or a 'better life'. Hatred of the 'world', the condemnation of the emotions, the fear of beauty and sensuality, a transcendental world invented the better to slander this one, basically a yearning for non-existence, for repose until the 'sabbath of sabbaths' - all of this, along with Christianity's unconditional resolve to acknowledge only moral values, struck me as the most dangerous and sinister of all possible manifestations of a 'will to decline', at the very least a sign of the most profound affliction, fatigue, sullenness, exhaustion, impoverishment of life."

Friedrich Nietzsche, Attempt at a Self-Criticism, 1886, 5

Monday, 5 July 2010

Interesting overview from Lithium on sCRM

because its monday....because I run my own business again.....and because I can

The root of middle class joblessness...brilliant Hugh MacLeod

CBT is King...Freud is dead - wots that got to do with brand?

Why is this graph interesting for brand & marketing people?

Because the "science" of brand (as created in the 50s and 60s), is based in Freudian psychology. It is, at its core, a top down endeavor. The old world of brand marketing saw doctors, (agencies) deliver diagnoses, (insights) to patients (the brand) about their issues (customers).

Now, everyone who knows what they're doing in the business of psychotherapy (marketing), knows that Freud (advertising) is a load of old misogynistic bollocks (the big idea / insight), based on the sexually repressed society of late 19c Vienna.

Instead, forward thinking agencies (therapists) are delivering earned media strategies (relational therapies) to clients (brands) that are rooted, not in abstract insights (diagnosis), but in the relationship between the brand and their customers (clients' issues)

This could be a book....

Friday, 2 July 2010

A marxist analysis of the financial crisis - quite brilliant

To argue wages have fallen in real terms over the last 20 years....bit silly.

Safer ground (for me) in modern Marxism is alienation - no better idea to describe a range of modern societal ills.

Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Collaborative consumption - great clip...

All I do these days is repost video clips - there are 5 unfinished articles in my blogger account - anyone up for finishing the research and thining for me?

Sunday, 27 June 2010

Probably only for geeks this one....

I spent 5 years building a java based platform. We learned to hate .net

Brand social strategy...excellent slides..

A great presentation - although I think the limits of brand friendship are set by the nature and qaulity of the brand more organically than My Wolk might like to admit.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Get religion...

Planners and "changing behaviours"....

Whenever I come across "planners" trying to "get inside the mind of the consumer" or "change behaviour" I wince. Exhibit A above - an ice cream brand trying to make us smile...

Closed off, over educated egos, all with the same bizarrely aggrandized sense of self worth pulling "insights" out of thin air, whilst claiming to have some sort of god like insight into the minds of other men - horrible.

Childish, ignorant, stupid.

The whole of concept of planning when taken to this level - where 60 second ads are elevated to works of science, in the dark science of human manipulation - is truly pathetic.

It shows a colossal ignorance of the human mind - and amongst other thing - no awareness whatsoever of the last 100 years of human psychology and behavioral investigation. I suspect even Freud - the least human of all the mind men - would look with some disdain at the pompous, nonsense that passes for "thinking" from most planning departments.

Students of humanistic psychotherapy learn very quickly that to predict or preempt another persons feelings of behaviours is a cataclysmic mistake. The very basis of psychological distress. Thinking we know someone else better than they, and articulating this, in however a subtle, or round about way, is the surest way to alienate and ruin people

Exhibit b - our current insane western culture which places value at the polar opposite of what is likely to make us humans happy.

In psychotheraputic terms, every time a planner has an "insight" is imposing a "condition of worth" - their own standards, their own outlook, their own view (which if it were perfectly alighted to all the people on whom we are imposing them - would be fine) - but which of course, more often than not, simply jars with the majority of the people who come into contact with that communication and makes them less happy - less likely to engage with the brand.

Making me smile into an upside down Microsoft surface doesn't make me happier. If that smile isn't genuine - then all you've done is take another small chunk out of my sense of self.

Most human beings, in their core, simply can't believe 99% of what passes for a marketing message. That car / razor blade / smart phone / perfume can't make us more attractive to the opposite (/ same sex). At a fundamental level we know this. We've stood at the bar alone - we know the reality of our sexual attractiveness.

When an advertiser tells us differently we are being pushed to accept something we don't believe.

Its wrong. Wrong because it makes the world a less happy place - but also wrong because when you analyse the truly great brands - you realise that they've very rarely participated in this form of abuse.

Forget "getting inside the mind of the consumer" - forget being "the voice of the consumer" - focus instead on true marketing - making your product brilliant - and then openly and honestly talking about that product with the people who care about it.

That is the way you build great, big, f**k off brands - brands which truly mean something to people. Brands which contribute.

Monday, 21 June 2010

applegirl002 makes the dumbest decision of her life...

She creates a global meme - has millions of loyal fans begging her to let them give her their cash directly to see her live and....

She signs a record deal


What a chump here

I don't think this is theatre - I think he means it...

PSFK - the future of retail report

PSFK presents Future of Retail report
I confess I haven't read it in detail yet - but on a quick glance - this looked very interesting - PSFK is becoming a must have resouce....

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

PSFK on planning and intuitive problem solving....

Nice little clip...interesting the weight everyone in the clip puts on what I would call emotional intelligence

Monday, 14 June 2010

Active brand immunity

I was sitting having some nice Sushi in a St Petersburg restaurant on Wednesday – and a good friend and business colleague mentioned a time with his young daughter on the Berlin underground.

He said she had sat down, looked at the ads facing her in the carriage and pointed out to her father “they’re only smiling at us to make us buy things”.

His daughter has acquired what we might call “active brand immunity”. Until the early 1960s, brand immunity simply didn’t exist. 3 TV ads a week gave the typical US brand 90% market penetration. Resistance was futile. Without an alternative narrative – the consumer bought, pretty much, what they were told.

Slowly over the course of the next 20 years, some consumers developed a degree of what we might call “passive brand immunity”, usually off the back of a high profile failure - Nestles’ child baby milk scandal, Exxon’s Spill, The “tooth in a coke can” meme, literature (Silent Spring) etc. They learned to shop selectively. Weeding out the most obviously exploitative, dumb brands but only on an ad hoc basis.

Now it seems, it might be possible that children as young as 8 can acquire ABI – “active brand immunity”. An innate, unconscious rejection of brand messaging as a default - driven by widely available counter information on digital networks about brands, rising social and environmental concerns surrounding their activity and a more general cynicism about the motives of the corporate world (bought on by a seemingly unending supply of disasters and scandals). Bottom line - kids are so informed of the real nature and true activity of brands, that taken as a whole, their potency is reduced.

My strong sense at the coal face of marketing is the idea of brand - certainly the way we understood the concept at the end of the 20th century at any rate - appears to be fading. The concept of commodity clubs – those institutions who are  adding something of real value to a customers world is beginning to take root. If  brands are morphing into institutions which more accurately reflect the desires and demands of their consumer, then that certainly on balance, can only be a good thing.

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Germany wins Eurovision.....

Quelle surprise!

The only net exporter in the Union. The only country able to bail the rest of us out.

And they win Eurovision.

Who would have thought it. What a coincidence.

How come we came last though? Are we being punished for being able to devalue?

A weekly round up...

I bookmark a lot - for clients, tracking memes and to develop my strategy process - makes wading through my delicious tags pretty painful - so from now on, on a regular basis, I thought I'd pull out the highlights from my wanderings around the web...

The modern business plan by Seth (Godin) – here

Mastercard getting into data web marketing, API’s and the semantic web - here

Facebook’s approach to the semantic web - here

The cost of being rich - here

An alternative metro – has had lots of press this – quite amazing - here

A great round up of 3d printing - here

Cos in our new house – I want to make sure our new woodburner heats the house as well - here

Site dedicated to the need for brands to become publishers - here

My own take on developing a content strategy - here

Friday, 28 May 2010

I tell my clients they should never simply repost stuff....

but with TED....I just can't help it...this talk on education is genuinely inspiring

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Can't watch iPlayer via the WiFi on Virgin trains...

The T-mobile WiFi service on Virgin trains is routed through Germany - it means access to the iPlayer and other content is blocked (also means you see google in German - which is pretty annoying for us, parochial, mono-language luddites...)

£10 for a days' access?

For a service which barely works, is in German when it does, and doesn't give me access to content I should be able to enjoy

Come on Virgin - sort it out...

The inflation game....

To solve the problem of soverign, corporate and personal debt - either the US or Europe must take the pain of inflating the west’s way out of the crisis. For several months now I’ve been wondering when the game of macro economic inflation chicken would begin. Finally. With increasing evidence of sustained growth - it seems to have started. We can now see political leaders manoeuvring on both sides of the Atlantic (but seemingly more aggressively in Europe) to manipulate the markets into forcing the other side into the firing line.

Although the rules of the game are relatively straightforward, their practical application is an incredibly dangerous political tightrope on which to walk. Nevertheless, both sides of the Atlantic will participate. The size of the prize (running your economy with lower inflation and higher growth compared to your nearest competitors) is simply too great not to have a go.

For the losers – the economic zone left holding the “higher currency bomb” - once growth kicks they get to import even more inflation via more expensive imports, with their export sectors simultaneously hit by the same high currency.

So how do you play?

Well, first of all you need spineless, dithering, self serving politicians who have little or no sense of decency or shame, who are prepared to roll their sleeves up and really get stuck in.

Frankly, on this basis alone, the US may as well go and grab a shower now. “err….Mr President….we need to add a few things into today congressional speech about the economy……” The US were foolish enough to elect someone with a partially working moral compass and a desire to bring decently and humanity to politics…how naive….

We on the other hand we in Europe have been much more sensible. We’ve put people like David Cameron in charge and even had the good sense to weaken his position, by placing him in a coalition with people who detest him, giving both parties the chance to blame lack of economic good governance on the other…...genius - who knew the electorate could be so clever?

Next, you need the aforementioned self-serving, partially educated PR team, to gently, but persistently work to undermine your own currency to the point where the markets devalue you against the other side, without precipitating a full on run. This was done very competently throughout the election by the Conservatives, particular by that odious little turd, George Osborne (someone who exudes lazy, ignorant, mis-placed self confidence with remarkable ease). George was able to point out on a daily basis throughout the campaign, the fragile nature of our economy and the massive cuts he’d need to instigate to bring us back form the brink.

Nice one Georgie…we’re nearly home and dry!

Even the Germans are getting in on the act. Angela Merkels’ brilliantly clumsy talking up of Grecian and Euro zones woes a couple of weeks ago, although seemingly a horribly amateur turn in a field of pros, suddenly was put into context as the French waded in hours later to contradict her – a work of political genius – not only knocking the currency but cleverly adding a “we’re f**ked and we also can’t agree” garnish – bravo!

The game of course is long and hard – and we are only seeing the opening salvos. None of us should underestimate the stakes however. Forget short term volatility, medium term growth or longer term fiscal issues. Whoever loses the game of macro-economic-inflation-chicken, bequeathes their country a generation of lacklustre growth, high unemployment andasset value erosion.

Who said getting the Tories was a bad thing?

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Developing a content strategy....

Many of my clients struggle with content. Content drives the conversations we're trying to create in an earned media strategy. Together with data web marketing and a listening and engagement plan - content forms the basis of any brands usage of the social web. Without it we are mute. And yet the development of a plan can leave the most forward thinking and courageous of clients running for the door.

As Mitch Joel points out here - most brands are now publishers, and great publishers devote a serious amount of time and resource to the creation of their content. The days of hoping a few blog posts from PR every now and again would cover it are long gone. Now listening and engagement strategies (as much as insight driven from planning and research) should drive an hourly news cycle for brands. See the Gatorade "mission control" clip below.

There is absolutely no doubt now that for most brands to be effective in a connected world – the quality, frequency and variety of the content they generate, needs to be on a par with anything that a conventional media organisation might publish. CMO's might differentiate - users don't.

This from a McKinsey Quarterly Report...

"Traditional marketers spend about 60 percent of their budgets on “working media” (or paid placement), 20 percent on creating content, and the balance on employees and agencies. Digital channels, with their social nature, reverse these economics, focusing on a smaller core of engaged people who can spread positive impressions, or simply share information, with a broader audience. Active digital marketers tend to devote about 30 percent of their marketing budgets to paid media and 50 percent to content. Customers do more of the heavy lifting as they decide what to look at, play with content, and forward it to their online communities. We have found that by making the right investments, active digital marketers can spend significantly less on marketing as a percentage of sales, with little to no deterioration in performance." full report is here

At a practical level, the most common error is to start with the tools – don't get distracted by whether you should be "writing a blog" or "posting on youtube" or "getting a facebook account". Tools will change - the need to engage your users will not.

Instead - go back to your research, your segmentation models, your personas, need state analysis, customer journeys, techno graphic profiles and KPI’s. Figure out what content your users want – what will inform, delight, entertain and engage them – what will make them talk (and say the right things) about your brand…then be as imaginative as you can with the different media options you have at your disposal.

Once you have a grip on user need - you are then in a far better position to know how to re-engineer internal systems, reallocate marketing budgets, source new suppliers to generate the content, recruit the right people, upgrade your IT systems and re imagine your marketing to become a publisher.

As a starter for 10, I've jotted down potential sources for your content below - to try give you a sense of the wide range of places you can search for content gold


Once you have a grip on type, manner and approach - some sort of systemised approach is critical initially to make sure processes and systems become embedded. The neat summary above, from an excellent presentation here covers the basics. Notice the dynamic integration with SEO and the related disciplines of correct metadata and tagging. Without giving users the chance to find stuff, any work will be in vain.

Happy publishing....

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

The intangible value game....

This TED is brilliant. Insightful, witty and amusing. But somehow I felt I was being entertained in a burning Rome.

My issue isn’t so much with the morality of advertising (although I have strong personal objections to much of what goes on in our business). Where the argument for intrinsic value creation falls down for me is in the numbers. Most of us know the advertising game has always been fun, dynamic, high risk and (relatively) well paid - working in strategy is as close to being paid to gamble in a Casino as anyone with half a brain is likely to get - my concern is the game has changed. That technology has rendered it unwinnable.

When the wisdom of the crowds can lay waste to any carefully constructed brand essence in seconds, where is the economic rationale behind capital being committed to build brands?

The business case for branding is simply no longer convincing. As users become more connected, more self aware and cynical - cold economic logic suggests that investing in (what I call) commodity clubs, simply represents a better economic bet.

Put another way. If an organisation

-    provides a great product or service people still need when money is tight, at a reasonable price
-    ensures if they source raw materials from poor countries, that they make the lives of the poor people they work with better
-    treats its staff and shareholders with respect
-    endeavours to minimise the environmental impact of its operations (and has a plan to reduce them to 0 or better still, actually improve the environment)
-    contributes in other ways to the wider (and local) community
-    accepts blame willingly when things go wrong

Why does that organisation need a brand?

I'm trying to not enjoy being an ad man....this isn't helping...

Monday, 24 May 2010

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Cognitive bias...

Cognitive Biases - A Visual Study Guide by the Royal Society of Account Planning

Excellent document - but slightly depressing - given the number of different types of bias I could recognise in my own behaviour!

Monday, 17 May 2010

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

(Inter)nationalise facebook...

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Daily/Colbert - Internationalize
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

For a while facebook has been the de facto platform on which we have been building the social world. Recent announcements suggest it might become the platform where we build the semantic world of the future - a world of data.

Given this and the fact that these services are so fundemental to society, so key to the way in which we now (and will) function as human beings, it can't possibly stay in private hands.

It must be (inter)nationalised.

It is simply too dangerous to leave that much data - that much insight - in the hands of a private company. We in the UK should know - we have Experian - a business which by a quirk of fate, has access to private data in the UK which authorities in Europe and elsewhere would never begin to countenance (that access I would argue was one of the primary (and as yet undiscussed and undisclosed) reasons for such a severe financial meltdown in this country. Leverage was built on top of Experien data - and their faulty analysis of it).

If the general population was as aware of the power and sensitivy of the data they were sharing on facebook (as they are of their tax or health records) - there would be a mass migration away from the platform. In fact I would go further and suggest it is in facebook's interests to be at least part privatised, to legitimise the key aspects of its business model, and insulate it from more vocal calls for (inter)nationalisation.

Monday, 10 May 2010

Dawkin....API's......Data.......I'm in heavan......

Darwin's Finches, 20th Century Business, and APIs

View more presentations from Sam Ramji.

Key takeaway..."the API is successful if the application that carries it is successful..."

Friday, 7 May 2010

BP....most certainly a brand, not a commodity club...

Read a post on Boing boing and it struck me that in my original post here I missed perhaps the biggest "brand" of all....

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Riz is a genius....(again)

As usual - everything that Riz touches - turns to gold....

Brand and earned media...where you build a marketing strategy from....

The saying goes....

If you're a builder, you solve every problem with a hammer.

If you're an academic - its a document.

If you're me - you see everything as overly complex to be made simple....

So when it comes to marketing and brand - I only really have 2 models. 2 simple ways of thinking about what I consider are the critically important aspects of marketing. The ones you really can't do without.

  • brand
  • earned media

I don't mean everything else (offline, bought, advertising - all the other concepts, channels and categories one could throw up around marketing) aren't useful at a practical level - they're just not as important as brand and earned media.

brand - my model based on "primal branding" - 7 areas - creation story, creed, icons, rituals, pagans, sacred words, leader

earned media - 5 stages to think about - listening, content, applications, support, data

The rest is subdordinate to this. Subjective. Someone else point of view.

Brand and earned media...where you build a marketing strategy from....

A good day trawling the deep web - downfall remade - brilliant...

Design genius...

Social Media Revolution 2 (Refresh)....can we vote on the music for the next one please?

V. interesting update on the hugley popular clip.

And the clip which takes the piss out of ad execs using fat boy slim in their pitches (skip to 3:35 if its too painful..)

No one is going to read your blog...

Roughly 30-50 people read this blog every day. It is very unlikely this number will ever rise. The reasons (lack of original thought, style etc) aren't important. I actually write another blog for my psychotherapy studies which only my tutor has access to. Its only for me. Only for personal reflection. A diary.

The reason I blog, and I think millions of others do to, is because somehow we know the process of refining and distilling our thoughts is useful to us. Not for our careers - hate that f**king word and concept (why in god's name would anyone chose a "career" over living, loving, hanging out with their children?) Baffles me...But for us. For us as people. To make our own worlds richer, more interesting.

Seth Godin calls it meta cognition. He's usually right....

The public sector cash pipe.....

A friend who heads up the marketing for a decent sized organic food retailer, was detailing some of the shocking headline figures her business was trying to cope with. Double digit declines in sales, massive staff redundancies, huge cut backs. Businesses shrinking to their bones - and many not surviving.

Her expereience seems to be in sharp contrast to that of other friends in the private - and public sector. But then organic food is alone - "fully private" if you like. A sector which receives virtually no government support, and is fully dependent on discretianary spending. They've not been shielded from the reality of our continent's fiscal position. Other sectors, whose bottom line is, in part, helped by direct or indirect government cash have been luckier. The ad agency with the juicy NHS trust PR gig, the printers who have the council contract, the garage which maintains the fleet of police vehicles.....

Once the government cash pipe stops pumping - probably at around the same time as a relief well is dug in the Gulf - it is these "part private" enterprises which will be tested.

How much of these businesses are built on easy, poorly accounted for government cash? How much of our economy is built on an embedded, 35 year old psychology that governments (since the decoupling of the dollar from the price of gold in 1973) could keep printing cash

10%? 30% 50%.....70%?

From experience, I suspect many part private businesses are bloated and inflexible - in as poor state as their public sector counterparts - and the loss of government contracts will be the end for them. How much of what we now consider to be fully private businesses - the pizza chain in the Mall, the high end clothes retailer, the garden planning much of their trade is based on a generation's assumption that the life they were living was "real" - when in actual fact, all of us have been being subsidised by virtual money for nearly 40 years.

How many people do they employ? How much virtual money were they contributing to the exchequer? What happens to a country when 30% of us are out of work? What do we do?

We're just about to find out.

Its election day

The last bottle of wine at the money printing party has been quaffed. The sun is coming up. The party is over.

The unavoidable consequences of 30 years of printing money are just about to kick in....

Friday, 30 April 2010

I was a lloyds customer for 20 years till today....

We have 3 current accounts with lloyds - not sure why - we've kind of collected them over the years. All of them had an overdraft - some of them were quite big.

We pay 20% interest on our overdrafts......20% f**king percent.The banks borrow money from the government, for free.

We're doing ok at the moment, trying to sort out our finances so I ring lloyds to put them all into 1 loan and start paying them off.

I'm not a bad bet. Own the majority of my house. Have a london flat, decent salary blah blah....

"no sir, you can't afford it"

err.....but you're already lending me the money, have another try.....??????

They don't budge. No option to talk to someone with a brain. No.

So I used a little of the grey matter....

Who, I think, had the least exposure in the crisis, who might be being savvy about stealing good customers from bad banks?

I'm now the proud owner of a co-operative loan @ 8.9%. All our lloyds accounts in the process of being closed.

One of life's small, but satisfying victories.

The economy.....

The national debt is 780b

PFI (all the schools and hospitals you see being built) - adds a further 20% (150b) to the total

public sector pensions, for which the government is liable, amount to around....780b

How much private sector output is based on public sector spending? I reckon around 20-30%

Mervin King has made it clear he thinks we're in for a shocking 5 year period.

Ask any vaguely credible financier and they will agree (I happen to have 2 friends who head up the research departments of 2 of the world's major investment banks and they believe the same).

This country is bankrupt.

Any talk of any sort of sustained "recovery" is utter nonesense.

In the near future, perhaps as early as the next 18 months.....

As the government slashes at public spending (as the Greeks are doing), in a desperate attempt to maintain their credit worthiness and international credibility, standards of living are going to fall faster than at any time since industrialisation.

Employment is going to rise to levels we have never before experienced and public order is going to become a major issue.

There is no rational argument you can put agianst this hypothesis.

And we haven't even touched on the price of oil.......

Downsize your house, pay off debt, learn a trade and start to think about how you will live on 30% of what you currently earn.

Its the only logical thing to do....

The pope song (slightly NSFW....)

Beautifully said...

Data marketing...more good thoughts from Scott Brinker

You can't understand the social web without being open yourself....

Most of those senor execs running brands who really want to understand "social media" should consider getting some counselling - I'm part way through doing a masters in psychotherapy – (I speak with some experience...)

Counselling isn't for everyone. But by far the biggest barrier for brands in the online world,  are the people they employ.

Brand as conversation isn't complex – its being human (I also happen to write algorithms for hedge funds for fun in my spare time – they’re complex – this isn’t). Only as a happy, calm, honest and open person - someone who has an easy relationship with themselves - someone who can be honest about their deficiencies as well as their successes - can you really grasp the depth and breadth of the opportunity out there.


First, if you are open, your ideas tend to resonate more deeply with the users you’re trying to empathise with.You can, quite literally sometimes, "hear" people better, when you yourself are open and listening properly.

Second. When inevitable crises arise, you’ll be able to enjoy and learn from the experience, rather than see them as an "audit of your soul" – as you may do now. It is usually only when things go wrong we learn and grow - so although these are times most people try to avoid, with a bit of counselling, you start to figure out they can actually be some of the most rewarding times in life. Bizare - but true.

Third. Genuinely successful people tend to display many of the attirubtes of people who know theselves well, once you start down the road, you'll find you resonate with them more. At a practical level you become more attractive to successful people - someone they want to associate with, hang out with, work with (sometimes even sleep with). Crazy but true. Although it misses the point of the excercise by a country mile - psychotherapy is a career development too.....

Seriously, visit the BACP. Find someone in your area. Book an appointment. What's the worst that could happen?

Thursday, 29 April 2010

Up there with "the social media guru"....

We don't need a brief in the post digital age....

"Have a social mission, not just a commercial proposition"

"The bigger a brand gets, the smaller is should act"

This guy has a way with words...I like

But I question the premise - do we still need briefs?

Accept a brand is always on > set a strategy > do it

Gordon's gaff - "bigoted b***h" would have been better,,..

If Gordon Brown had said "bigotted b***h" - it would have been easier for people to understand.

Such a blantantly angry, revolting thing to say, might more easily have been put down to a heat of the moment, knee jerk reaction.

"Bigotted women" on the other hand doesn't quite sit - because its considered. Almost calm. Thought through.

Something said in such a pragmatic way lends weight to the charge that the man's core is rotten....

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Social marketing analytics from Altimeter...great report

Once again - top draw analsysis and simple insight from Jeremiah Owyang - his delivery style is a little stiff but you can't fault the quality of his thinking and the way he pitches his thinking to an audience he understands....

So, good, why?

Well first - because he ties measurement right back to objectives - in other words - only worry about data / metrics which relate to your objective.

Don't have a clearly defined objective? Go back to strategy school here

So for example......if you're setting up a support forum to try and reduce the call times and pressure on a call centre - you measure resolution rate, time and score - and you don't worry about share of voice 

If you're objective is to drive sales - share of voice, engagement and reach are your friends (as well as your existing hard metrics)

Sounds simple - but the truth is, it's news for most.

Second - because good, simple definitions of the key metrics - a commonality of language - is badly needed (and not something many people working in the space have the time or interest in developing)

Third - because a framework (however flawed) - is often better than nothing - to aid initial understanding. I'm not sure I 100% buy it - our 4 categories of sales, web, social and marketing I think are perhaps a little more human (and even more simple) - but I accept the need to drill into the nuances of the "social" category.

Burger King's social media efforts aren't working...according to Vivaldi Partners

From a report here.

Wasn't convinced of the value of their analysis until page 35. Seemed their core idea of social currency was getting lost in some fairly generic case studies.

However, the Burger King data was interesting. It resonated with my own experience of the brand online.

That although what BK are doing is at times funny, thought provoking and conversational - it appears they're not building much value into the brand...why? (perhaps their most on brand tactic - the delete a friend app was ironically - the only one to be banned)

My guess is because their tactic of "borrowed relevance" is too general. Its not connecting with the interests and habits of their core users. So a perfume or anthropological study - whilst admirable and whitty marketing casestudies - are not tactics the average 14 year old ordering his Whopper, is too interested in.

Monday, 26 April 2010

3 models for social business....

Social business is soon going to be the hot topic in digital / consulting land - how a company transforms itself from a closed, silo'ed organisation - into an open, listening, reactive, dynamic "hive". For definition - here

Organisations who are already out of the blocks of "social media" are at an advantage it seems. The level (and not the short term success) of that early experience is the driving factor in who is starting to effectively grapple with the challenge.

Turning that initial learning (the listening the PR team are doing - the app marketing built - the data IT want to publish) into practices and protocols which drive the whole business (and which crucially - don't bureaucratize and kill - the very thing they're trying to nurture) is going to be the number 1 issue for most CEO’s over the next couple of years.
So my top 3 models below to provide an intro for people who haven't got a clue what I'm talking about are ...

Dachis - here
Altimeter - here
Edelman here

Fascinating time for business....

Friday, 23 April 2010

Green investment, no trident and PR

Even if you don't think they can make a positive impact - where is the risk? Another 4 years of labour (btw Mr Brown it wasn't a global recession - it was an asset bubble you created, burst by our dependency on oil which you failed to address) or Cameron - spineless, unprincipled bell end.

Given 'em a go. How bad can it be?

Thursday, 22 April 2010

US debt clock - fascinating...

click here to see it live

PR 3.0 - more brilliant thinking from Philip Sheldrake

Less angry than usual - which is a shame - but the importance of what he's saying can't be overstated.

Data + API's + semantic markup = the future of marketing

UK borrowing hits 890billion....

“Paper money eventually returns to its intrinsic value ---- zero.” Voltaire (1694-1778)

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

37 Shreddies...

That's roughly how many shreddies make up 30grams - Kelloggs RDA for their product.

I then measured how much I pour in a small portion (I'm trying to watch my weight) - over 70grams.....

The RDA for cereals are meaningless - Kelloggs must know this, the government must know this - the consumer certainly does.

Why doesn't Kelloggs do something about it?

The 7 cornerstones to a 21st century agency....

1. earned not paid - brand not channel

2. authenticity, happiness, measurement and the truth

3. a belief in the intrinsic values of an organisation

4. adhocracies here

5.  space for a marketing technologist here

6. the desire to broaden a revenue base by developing products and ideas (with / without partner brands) - an interesting way to develop a content strategy, which in itself is the next big thing on the web….

7. Outsource and consultancy, not invoice and conspiracy