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


Why Purpose Marketing And Planners Need To Be Stopped …

Purpose.

Planning.

Both have had a lot of debate about them in the past few years and both have their cheerleaders and detractors.

The reality is they both have incredible value but – and it’s a big but – only when used responsibly.

Of course, what ‘responsibly’ is, is often in the eye of the brand owner and that’s where the problems starts … because too often, the focus is appealing to the ego of the company directors rather than the pulse of culture which is why we’re seeing more and more ‘purpose work’ that communicates in the corporate monotone of egotistical, bland, business-speak.

The client doesn’t think that of course, they think they’re doing an amazing thing and that people will really believe Hard Rock Cafe’s want to stop hunger or a plastic lighter company in HK wants to save the rainforest [which is true, but I can’t find the post about it, mainly because it was back in 2010] or – hold on to your hats – this …

WHAT. THE. FUCK.

Yes, that really is an umbrella company claiming their purpose is to offer lifestyle solution and protection for the public.

Are they insane?

Even if that was true – which if it is, means they’re bonkers – then the way they’ve written it means the umbrellas are to save you from marketing bullshit raining down on your head.

Purpose has a really important role for brands … but you don’t just ‘make it up’.

I am utterly in shock how many companies sell ‘purpose’ to brands and yet never investigate the soul of the brand.

Go into the vaults.

Look inside every single box.

Discover what made them make their decisions.

Understand the values they lived by and fought for.

Talk to the people who have worked there or shopped there since the earliest of days.

Basically discover their authenticity rather than what they wish their authenticity was.

And yet a lot of companies are paying a lot of other companies to literally make up a bullshit story about them.

Something they think makes them sound good.

Something they think will make people want to choose them.

And while we are definitely seeing more and more people choosing to associate with brands that live by a set of values and beliefs, the thing the brands who ‘invent a purpose’ fail to understand is that this audience seeks truth, not bullshit and so what they’re doing with their make-believe is actually achieve the absolute opposite of what they were trying to do.

Purpose matters.

Planning matters.

But the moment you let ego drive your ambitions rather than your authenticity, you end up being a brand that is flying extremely high on the Planning Purpose Twatosphere.

Remember brands, by being yourself you will be different.

Stop inventing bullshit and start acting your truth in interesting ways.

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It Seems I Am The Fine Line Between Famous And Infamous …

How is your 2018 going so far?

I know it’s still early days – but is it looking good or bad?

Well, if it’s looking positive, I’m about to ruin it for you and if it is looking dodgy, I’m going to help you solidify your opinion.

Why?

Well, a few weeks ago, a nice guy called Paul McEnany asked if he could interview me about my career.

While I’m sure his reasoning for his request was to help planners learn what not to do, my ego said yes even before my mouth did … and while the end result is the bastard love child of rambling randomness and base-level swearing, it’s the perfect way to justify your pessimism for 2018 or to ensure your optimism for the new year doesn’t get too high.

So go here and errrrrm, enjoy [if that’s the right word for it, which it isn’t] and after you’ve heard my crap, listen to the brilliant interviews with people like Gareth Kay, Russell Davies, Richard Huntingdon, Martin Weigel and the amazing Chris Riley because apart from being hugely interesting and inspiring, you’ll get the added bonus of [1] undeniable proof I’m a massive imposter and [2] the knowledge that if I can have some sort of semi-successful career in advertising, you certainly can.

You’re welcome.



Even If You’re An Employee, You’re A Business Owner …
September 13, 2016, 6:15 am
Filed under: A Bit Of Inspiration, Attitude & Aptitude, Interviews, olympics

So I’ve written before about the value in starting your own business … and I still wholeheartedly stand by that.

However I recently read an interview with the actor Michael Keaton, that made me re-think a bit about what ‘starting your own business’ really means.

I love how he connects choosing a role with running his business.

It’s so obvious, but I never thought of it that way before.

But this is exactly how everyone should look at what they do … even if you are an employee of someone else.

What are you choosing to do?

What are you choosing to accept?

What are the standards you will work to and will expect from others?

Sure, some of these things are easier to control when you literally run ‘your own business’ … but if we acknowledge that our careers are ultimately in our own hands, then looking at what we do through the lens of it being ‘our own business’, may make us sharper on what we do and what we are willing to do. Or – as is sometimes even more important – what we won’t.



An Interview Tip …
May 19, 2014, 6:10 am
Filed under: Experience, Interviews

If you’re in an interview and your excuse for not having done something interesting is because the brand you work on is boring, just know that’s telling the interviewer you didn’t take any responsibility in trying to turn that around.

It doesn’t matter if you work on car tyres, deodorant or cough drops, our job is to find a way to make people care and even if you failed in getting the client to buy your thinking, it’s much better than trying to put all the blame on the client.

And even if you are convinced it was all the clients fault [which it won’t be, but I’ll humour you for a moment], at least explain what you learnt from the situation and how you used it – or intend to use it – in the future because to a potential employer, experience counts for nothing if you haven’t done something with it.