Category Archives: Marketing

Does culture eat strategy?

An 18 month hiatus and a commitment to writing more regularly! I’m back.

Peter Drucker: “Culture eats strategy for breakfast”. Believe it or not? Generally, strategy rules the roast and is seen as the more important side of the equation. To me they are equally important. Can’t have one without the other. It’s like a good sporting team without a good coach, or a good coach without a good team. To succeed you need both sides clicking.

peter-drucker-strategy-breakfast

I’m fascinated with how some leaders think culture is a function of HR thing or a marketing thing. Is it the responsibility of these departments alone? Culture is in every single person in the organisation. It needs to be. Win at all costs and not living the values of an organisation to achieve? That’s a no no in my book and leads to disruptive and unproductive practices, least of all it is very demotivating and demoralising. An organisation’s core assets are its people and without people, you don’t have the ability to execute strategy. To look after your people means to develop a strong culture, a bond, a commitment, and a willingness that you actually care and have empathy.

Too often leaders pay lip service to culture. Well, it doesn’t lead to a measurable Return on Investment such as hiring someone and getting x% growth in sales – so why should I really care right? I just want to make sure I hit that financial goal! What separates good leaders from others is a commitment to people and being measured not just on the what but the how. A great leader needs to understand the value of how.

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Pepsi Max & Uncle Drew

With huge marketing budgets, brands like Pepsi have the ability to spend millions of dollars on ad campaigns. And when you bring in sporting personalities, the ideas can be endless. And when the sporting personalities are NBA stars it makes it even more enjoyable (for me anyway!). I can’t help but love what Pepsi Max have done with the Uncle Drew series (Kyrie Irving of the Cleveland Cavs).  I saw the first one many months ago and they have just released the second chapter (with Kevin Love of the Timberwolves and Legendary Celtic Bill Russell). No doubt there will be more to come.  Now this is content well worth sharing! Here are the 2 vids below:

1) Here’s the first chapter  from earlier on in the year. 15 million views can’t be wrong =)

2) And the latest one just released with Uncle Drew and Wes…


The Dream Team

20 years on and without doubt the finest collection of basketball players on one team ever. 11 Professionals and 1 College player. All 11 pros in the Basketball Hall of Fame & (apart from Chris Mullin) all in the NBAs Top 50 Greatest basketball players of all time. I still remember as a teenager hearing news about the Dream Team. You serious? Basically an NBA All Star team at the Olympics? In 1992, basketball was just reaching new heights. And this would propel the NBA and basketball into an even bigger spotlight

This great documentary just released by NBA TV takes us on the journey on the establishment and the trials & tribulations of the finest basketball team ever – original Dream Team. A must see for basketball aficionados. The old heads Magic and Bird going for one last hurrah, the torch being passed to Michael Jordan, and Malone & Barkley going at it to be known as the best Power Forward in the game. Yes you won’t miss the cockiness and the arrogance, but there’s no denying they were the best of the best.

Yes people will remember Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird. But for you late bloomers to basketball, who were the other guys? Their resumes are pretty impressive:

Karl Malone: The Mailmain considered by many to be one of the top Power Forwards of all time. Played 18 years with the Utah Jazz and 1 with the Lakers. Career averages of 25.0 ppg and 10.1 rpg. Second all time leader in points with 36,928 points behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. 2x League MVP and 14x NBA All Star, he made 3 NBA Finals appearances losing to the Bulls in successive years and to the Pistons (in his final year as a Laker).

John Stockton: Played 19 years with Utah and perfected the pick and roll with the Mailman. A true point guard at 6-1 his court vision was simply amazing. Career averages of 13.1 ppg and 10.5 apg. All time leader in assists with 15,806 assists. A 10x NBA All Star, he made 2 NBA Finals appearances losing to the Bulls in successive years.

Chris Mullin: A sharp shooting south paw, he played 16 years with Golden State & Indiana. Part of the famous Run TMC with Tim Hardaway and Mitch Richmond (a 90’s rendition of Showtime!). Career averages of 18.2 ppg, 50.9% FG and 86.6% FT. A 5x NBA All Star.

Scottie Pippen: Jordan’s sidekick for 6 NBA championships in the 90’s. Pretty much the prototypical “do-all” small forward who could score, defend and play big or small. Played 17 years mainly with The Bulls, alongside stints with the Rockets & Trailblazers. Career averages of 16.1 ppg and 5.2 apg. A 7x NBA All Star.

Charles Barkley: The “Round Mound of Rebound” – he was never shy with what he had to say and still in’t as an analyst with TNT! Played 16 years with the 76ers, Suns and Rockets. Career averages of 22.1 ppg and 11.7 rpg. 1x League MVP and 11x NBA All Star. Made it to the NBA Finals once with the Suns, losing to the Bulls who embarked on the start of their second 3-peat.

Christian Laettner: The Duke posterboy who won 2x NCAA championships. Played 13 years with 6 NBA teams and had an “average” career. Career averages of 13.3 ppg and 6.9 rpg. 1x NBA All Star.

David Robinson: The Admiral played all 14 years with the San Antonio Spurs teaming with Tim Duncan to form the “Twin Towers” in winning 2 NBA championships. Chiseled physique who had a unique ability to run and floor hard for a big man. Career averages of 21.1 ppg & 10.6 rpg. 1x League MVP and a 10x NBA All Star.

Patrick Ewing: The former Gergetown Hoya played 17 years mainly with the Knicks. Known for his patented “fall away” jumper in the post. Who could forget those tough series between the Knicks and Bulls of the 90s and the match ups between Ewing and Houston’s Hakeem Olajuwon. Career averages of 21.0 ppg and 9.8 rpg. 11x NBA All Star who made it to the NBA FInals once where his Knicks lost in 7 games to Hakeem and the Rockets.

Clyde Drexler: Clyde “the Glide” Drexler played 15 years with the Blazers and Rockets capturing a championship with the Rockets alongside Hakeem Olajuwon. Career averages of 20.4 ppg and 6.1 rpg. A 10x NBA All Star.

And this is them today….20 years on. If you’re a true basketball fan, you will appreciate them as a team, but also how it changed the landscape of basketball globally. Names like Dirk Nowitzki, Pau Gasol, Marc Gasol, Tony Parker, Manu Ginoboli – you can chase their beginnings back to 1992 and what happened with the Dream Team.


Marketing Battleship: Seth Godin V Guy Kawasaki

Seth Godin a highly successful author, marketing expert and entrepreneur.  He founded Yoyodyne, one of the first online marketing companies, which was acquired by Yahoo in 1998. Marketing approach = emphasises the idea of building communities and delivering value – rather than pursuing people / business with marketing tricks.

His Blog: http://sethgodin.typepad.com
His Twitter: @ThisIsSethsBlog


Guy Kawasaki
was one of the Apple employees originally responsible for marketing the Macintosh in 1984, now a best selling author with books like Rich Dad Poor Dad. Marketing approach =  recognising the potential in creating an audience that is not merely interested in a product, but one that is dedicated to it.

His Blog: http://blog.guykawasaki.com
His Twitter: @GuyKawasaki

Who do you want in your corner? Lets get ready to rumbbbbbbbbbbble! Round 1. Fight!

By Killer Infographics: Infographic Design


The Power of Story Telling

I’ve worked on a few projects with a company called Seven Stories whose work is all about “bringing compelling stories to life”. They do some fantastic work and really help simplify the complexity and build s story. Working with them introduced me to the power that story telling can have on people and organisations.

As marketers, one of our roles is to tell stories. Really you ask? Think of when you had to sell an idea to your boss. Maybe it was selling the idea of a rebranding project, a creative concept on the latest ad campaign, or maybe a website redesign. Come to think of it, whether we are in marketing or not we all have to tell stories one way or another in the workplace. And as we move up the Corporate ladder, I think it’s all about telling stories to convince staff, shareholders, and the market of the journey you are taking them on. Q-How did Steve Jobs introduce the iPhone and iPad to the market? A-He had a compelling story to tell.

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In business, a lot of our story telling is done by rational approaches: hard facts, numbers, return on investment. There’s nothing wrong with that, in fact, that’s how economies function. However, when you tap into the emotional side of things, that’s when you connect, when people remember you, and where you can make a difference. I guess that’s what movie directors are always trying to do in making the next Hollywood blockbuster. That’s not to say you should be coming up with a movie script each time you do a presentation to your boss in the workplace. But it is beneficial when you are selling the idea to try and think about what story you are trying to tell.

What was widely considered one of the more successful/popular Superbowl XLVI commercials recently (even though I loved the funny ones-see my post on 2012 Superbowl Ads)? It was the Clint Eastwood Chrysler commercial. Why? Because it told you a story. It took people on a journey. And it was a memorable one because it connected with people’s emotional side instead of the rational side which would otherwise just talk about the car’s features. Over 5 million YouTube views can’t be wrong!

It’s that “a-ha” moment that you want to cultivate. But it’s not just the end that’s important, it’s how you construct your story from start to finish. So when you do your next idea pitch, think about the story you want to tell. How can you connect with the audience to make it memorable like Mr W below…


2012 Superbowl Ads

Yes there was a game played between the New York Giants and the New England Patriots yesterday which the Giants won 21-17. But apart from that, there’s always eyes on analysing and dissecting the TV ads during one of the most watched events on TV.

super-bowl-xlvi

So here are some of the the 2012 Superbowl ads. At $3.5m for a 30 second spot in front of over 111 million people, you can be sure measuring Return On Ivestment (ROI) will be critical for those marketers and advertising agencies out there. How to measure? Pre and post Superbowl brand tracking studies, social media mentions, and sales over the short term and long term will all have been discussed as core metrics to determine success. From products ranging from chocolate to beer to cars to charity, success metrics will vary.

Many integrated call to action into their ads with social media playing a big part. Mashable.com put together an interesting analysis of the what took place in social media during the game, halftime and the ad breaks via BlueFin Labs who specialise in Social TV analytics.

But here are 5 of my favourites below. And yes, it’s always the funny ones that get me =)

1. M&Ms: “Just my Shell” – You can never beat dancing M&Ms!

2. Volkswagon: “The Dog Strikes Back” – If you are a Star Wars fan you will love this one.

3. Chevy: “Happy Grad” – Apparently this was a contest entry. Not bad. Very entertaining.

4. Doritos: “Man’s Best Friend” – Every year they come up with some gems. This one is yet another

5. Bud Light: “Rescue Dog” – HERE WE GO! Or is that WE-GO?