Attend as my guest – CIM event exploring Artificial Intelligence

A Farmer and his new way of working

No one can have failed to notice the sheer number of stories that seem to make their way onto the front pages almost every day. Personally, I love seeing technology evolve but from an ethical perspective I do wonder what this will do to the job market and perhaps more importantly, what it’ll do with our own sanity if the human race isn’t kept busy. Are we simply going to re-train people (assuming there’s work for them to re-train in of course), or are most of us going to become shareholders in businesses and generate our livelihoods from the profits these firms generate? I’m wondering more than ever now because in the last few weeks’ I’ve been surprised about the … Read More >

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Shared objectives require defining for success

I’ve been running my consultancy for many years now, 14 to be precise and during this time we’ve been lucky enough to work with many wonderful people. I used to think that this was just good luck on our part until recently when I started to question this element we refer to as ‘luck’. In fact I recall one business owner saying to me during a car journey that “the harder he worked, the luckier he seemed to get”. I hadn’t heard this before and so it struck me as being very insightful. But since that time I’ve thought about this even further. Take for example my comment about being ‘lucky enough’ to work with many wonderful people which really … Read More >

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GDPR – Ignorance is no defence

If you’ve heard about this and are already preparing your business congratulations, if not then you really need to be aware of the changes coming our way that will most likely affect all businesses in the UK in 2018. So what is GDPR? It stands for ‘General Data Protection Regulation’ and it is designed to bring all European countries into line on matters of personal and commercial data protection enforcing such policies on all member states (surprisingly not all have robust policies). Of course it’s long overdue bearing in mind how much has changed with managing personal data since the Data Protection Act of 1998 was brought into being in the UK. Many consumers are in the dark about how … Read More >

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Stuffocation – a marketing man’s moral dilemma

I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of ‘Stuffocation’ but I first came across it in 2015 whilst hearing it discussed on BBC Radio 2’s Chris Evans breakfast show. Mr Evans was interviewing James Wallman, the author of a book with the same title.  James Wallman’s view and I suspect the view of quite a few people, lies in the fundamental question, what exactly are our little lives all about? We live, work, breathe and die on this planet and yet through our work we are driven to buy material things that make us feel happy, temporarily at least. That desire to do better than our neighbours or our friends and to generate pride amongst our family. That belief that … Read More >

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With our help our SME business clients have BIG ideas!

I spend a fair amount of my time helping SME companies develop growth strategies. These strategies require me to review their markets and competition, products and services, systems, skills and of course their staff roles and capabilities to position the business for their short and long-term goals. Yet in SME’s (particularly of a certain size), it can be all too easy to lose sight of one’s own staff when your customers and competitors, products and services can take up so much of a management team’s time, so we help by ‘joining-up-the-dots’. A large percentage of SME’s recruit staff, either by word-of-mouth, recruitment agency, advertisement, networking or promotion through the ranks and a few take this further and bring in apprentices, especially … Read More >

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Brand Confusion?

What is a brand? A fairly straightforward question but with many struggling to define it accurately it seemed worthy of a a short definition from someone who spends a lot of time progressing businesses from companies to brands. A brand is ultimately the message (tangible, intangible or both) that you want to convey to your customers and your staff. You hope to do this through the actions you take, the products you sell and the manner in which you sell them.  So why do many struggle…? Let’s take the case of a shopper who comes into your store to purchase garments for a specific use such as an outdoor adventure trip in a warm climate. They want these to be hardwearing, … Read More >

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…and let your suppliers know you.

In February 2013 I wrote a blog post entitled ‘Know your suppliers’, the story discussed the importance of your suppliers to you in your customer offering; poor suppliers leads to a poor service, whether that’s as a result of the quality of materials they supply, the service they give you or the way you treat them. However, I also have the view that your suppliers need to get to know you.  At the start of the relationship they have something you need whether that’s raw materials for manufacture and conversion, tools and machinery, or a better service than you had elsewhere. Quite often this puts them, not you in a position of strength and it’s inevitably all too easy to … Read More >

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Too little (marketing now), too late (to save your business tomorrow)

I work hard, my children tell me this regularly (and my wife has given up telling me).  But this blog isn’t about how I work because I love what I do and I’m happy with the work/life balance I’ve got, besides anymore free-time and I’d feel I’d not earned my keep! So I thought I’d focus on those directors who work hard tending to the daily demands of the business, but who find it almost impossible to see beyond the here and now. This is reflected in the calls I get asking how I can help, usually a Director who has identified that things appear to have ‘recently’ gone wrong. Calls that include comments such as, “the business has just … Read More >

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The Have’s and Have Yachts

In last month’s blog we discussed the word ‘luxury’ and how, in an interior designer forum, it was proposed that the word was reclaimed for the profession. Perhaps for those working at the pinnacle of the interior designer profession, it’s possible you might feel the word ‘luxury’ had been used to excess. In the forum I also introduced the term ‘Veblen goods’ as another means of considering ultimate luxury. The name comes from the work conducted by American economist and sociologist Thorstein Veblen (1857 – 1929). Veblen’s work discusses why certain goods become more rather than less attractive to some consumers the higher the price they command. Veblen, an American of Norwegian descent, came from a very humble Norwegian speaking … Read More >

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Has the marketing profession devalued the word ‘luxury’?

We work daily with a number of designer manufacturers who provide exclusive bespoke products into the stunning homes and palaces of the rich and famous. Their clients’ sectors are very broad, sometimes direct and sometimes through agents such as main building contractors, architectural practices and interior designers. Recently, in an interior designer web forum, one member asked the question ‘What is luxury’ and whether the word could be ‘reclaimed’ for the ID profession. One of the responders to the question, a bespoke interior product manufacturer himself, felt the word ’luxury’ had been denigrated by advertisers who used it in marketing parlance too frivolously (saying) “everything can be “luxury” these days, from teabags to dog blankets”.  So as a practice that … Read More >

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