The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

A Little Less Mission Statement, A Little More Personality …
December 10, 2013, 6:15 am
Filed under: Comment

As John Dodds likes to continually point out, I often post things about circumstances or situations that passed long ago.

Sure, part of this is because I’m about as topical as an episode of Neighbours, but part of it is because I pre-write this rubbish so far in advance that by the time I get to something new, it’s already consigned to history.

OK, so I could write it and move the other posts around so it would remain ‘topical’, but I can’t be arsed, so deal with it.

The reason I am preambling is – you guessed it – because I’m going to write another un-topical/topical post.

Over the years, I’ve written quite a lot of posts about the London Underground [ here and here for example] and almost all of them have been positive.

Back in April, I talked about how they seemed to understand how showing empathy, humanity and personality could translate to building a real rapport with their passengers, well on Halloween, they did it again.

Nice eh!

I particularly love that they wrote the whole thing ‘straight’ – as if it was a real notice – giving the overall impression they’re a professional organisation but with a twinkle in the eye.


Yes, I know lots of companies do Halloween ads, but this is not an ad – well, not in the way most companies do them – it’s a wonderful bit of brand charm.

OK, so I accept many people may have missed this sign – and some may even think it is childish and unprofessional – however, while many companies believe the secret to success is to run efficiently and show no personality trait that could alienate a potential customer, I am firmly of the belief that brands who express their personality or point of view have a real advantage over their bland, parity competitors.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying a strong POV or personality can automatically overcome those brands that offer mass distribution or uber-low prices, but it might get you a stronger and more emotionally loyal customer base than the casual/superficial/auto-pilot customers many organisations continually chase each and every day.

It’s for this reason that I’ll always pop into – and buy music from – Nottingham’s iconic second hand record shop ‘Rob’s Records’ … not because we share the same name or because I’m a technology luddite and only listen to my favourite bands via vinyl or CD … but because he has no problem expressing his personal opinion on the music he stocks.

Efficiency, professionalism, reliability and trust might be vital traits of a strong brand, but personality and character are what makes you fall in love.


47 Comments so far
Leave a comment

fucking hell campbell, youll be writing about princess dianas death next. its fucking december 2013. i know you act like its summer 1976 but get with the fucking program.

Comment by andy@cynic

At least this post refers to Halloween 2013. That’s an improvement.

Comment by Pete

and im the first to comment. how fucking depressing.

Comment by andy@cynic

and whats all this bollocks about being a tech luddite, youre a tech fucking groupie. when they remake almost famous, theyll base the new penny lane on you. just less fucking grotesque.

Comment by andy@cynic

That is the best and most disturbing comment of 2013.

Comment by DH

dont blame me, campbell made me do it. but the best part of it is all me.

Comment by andy@cynic

I didn’t mean I was a tech luddite, I was simply saying that is not the reason I like visiting a record store in Nottingham that happens to share my same first name.


Comment by Rob

“Efficiency, professionalism, reliability and trust might be vital traits of a strong brand, but personality and character are what makes you fall in love” – this is brilliant.

Many brands focus on developing the former because they believe personality and character traits have the ability to alienate audience. This is shortsighted because when handled with authenticity, the effect can be the total opposite.

Welcome back Rob.

Comment by Pete

Who would want an inauthentic personality or character?

Comment by DH

Except Bernie Madoff and the others of his type. Like ECD’s and planning directors.

Comment by DH

And multinational agency CEO’s.

Comment by DH

Maybe Kevin Roberts should use that as the introduction to his next love marks book.

Comment by Bazza

Sadly, most CEOs don’t think spending money to make people smile is a good investment.

(That’s because most of them have a giant stick up their arse, that was put there by their shareholders who are your pension fund managers. So in a roundabout way, you should blame yourself …)

Comment by Ian Gee

I agree with you Ian … I’ve often said that there are far too many shareholders out there who demand companies act ethically and morally then complain the moment their dividend goes down.

I personally feel I’m talking about far more than just ‘smile appeal’, but as I think I know you know that, I won’t bore you by banging on about it. Consider it my Christmas gift to you, ha.

When are we catching up, it’s only been 2 years!

Comment by Rob

If he’s smart, he’ll have got the judge to extend the restraining order way beyond two years.

Comment by John

I think the reason you return to Rob’s Records has less to do with his personality quirks and more to do with you being the most sentimental person I’ve ever met.

Comment by Bazza

Please replace sentimental with sad bastard. Thank you.

Comment by DH

I wouldn’t disagree. Sorry Rob.

Comment by Bazza

Sadly, either would I.

Comment by Rob

I agree with you, but wonder if you actually saw this sign on one of your holidays. Since you had to stand me up a few months back, I’m assuming you didn’t.

So, I’ll just suggest that personality and character can be faked.

Comment by John

let me get this straight, youre complaining campbell stood you up? are you fucking mad. you should be happier than an actor on eastfuckingenders.

Comment by andy@cynic

I think that example is full of personality John. Cynical personality perhaps, but still personality.

Maybe that’s why I kind of like you.

Comment by Rob

And we all know that the reason you frequent Rob’s Records is that it’s the only outlet on the planet that still stocks the kind of 80s rock that you crave.

Comment by John

That’s what youtube is for isn’t it?

Comment by Rob

what the fuck have you done dodds.

Comment by andy@cynic

My ears, my eyes!

Comment by John

You love it Mr Dodds. They’re almost as good as Kanye.

Comment by Rob

The comment section is back in full swing. Thanks.

Comment by Miguel


Comment by andy@cynic

It appears it is Miguel.

Comment by George

Superb insight, clearly from a man who’s played brand for a long time šŸ˜‰

Comment by Dave Holland

Hello Dave, nice of you to lower your standards and come on here.

Comment by Rob

Welcome back Robert. I would suggest it is not the case that brands have no personality to communicate, but that the owners have made a conscious decision to suppress the voice for reasons Peter details in his comment. Not all of course, but many.

Comment by Lee Hill

Good point Lee … even though some brands, because of how they were created, have the personality of a brand that has literally no personality.

Comment by Rob

Reblogged this on johncaesar569.

Comment by johncaesar569

Well the comments are back on form
I love that tube poster, in direct comparison to my daily train where they actually pretend the trains are on time

Comment by Northern

How is the new job going Mr Northern? Are you having fun or is it MediaArts with a different name?

Only when you answer that can we say the comments are truly ‘back’.

Comment by Rob

You know what? It’s okay.
Real media as opposed to media arts.
Real comm strategy v justify the sexiest creative idea.
I do miss execution though.
The main thing is that the people are great.
It’s funny watching ‘creative planners’ from other agencies though.

Comment by northern

if you dont put some london creative planning twat in their place with your slightly less twat creative planning brain within the next week i will never fucking talk to you again.

but if you ever say r&f i will fucking smack you.

Comment by andy@cynic

Actually the main thing is if the people think you’re great.

Comment by DH

I’m fucked then

Comment by Northern

As it happens main client seems to think I’m okay
Already having fun with some London creative folks. It’s amazing how much rope they’ll happily accept

Comment by Northern

your client must be a hot chick that cant fucking resist you. at least thats what your youporn head tells you. pervert.

Comment by andy@cynic

I thought Nickelback were the worst band in the world. Ever.

Comment by Marcus

And yet they are one of the smartest money makers in music. How terrible is that.

To everyone else. Please note Marcus DIDN’T say Queen.

Comment by Rob

Guessing everyone is getting pissed at office parties. Why else would this post get 40 comments.

Comment by Billy Whizz

I’ll be back in Shanghai mid-Jan. Let’s get together then.

Comment by Ian Gee

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