Monthly Archives: April 2011




I am tired of all this philosophizing about Social Media.
Like it’s the second coming of Christ.
I mean come on now!

What’s the big deal?
The web has grown up.

We’re no longer surfing the web.
We’re shaping it.

I know the world has changed forever.
It’s not the first time.
And it’s not the last.

But consumption has always been social.
And successful brands have always had friends, fans and followers.

So, it all gets down to what has always been true.


And that gets right back to consumer insight.

That which has always separated the okay from the bad.
The good from the simply okay.
And the insanely great from everything else. 

Great consumer insight has always been behind great communication and great communication campaigns.

Our biggest challenge as marketers?
It’s not how to get into Social Media.
That’s easy. 

It’s how to get social media into us. 



Every brand has a unique DNA  The primary job of the strategist is to uncover that DNA and express it in a way that is powerful, relevant and motivating. Brands that find their DNA and express it well are extremely powerful brands. Think of Apple, Nike, BMW, Avis.

Marketing is too important to be left to the marketing department  Great brands are driven by great vision. And that vision can only come from the CEO. CEO=Chief Vision Officer, amongst other things. No. CEO=Chief Everything Officer.

Everything communicates  What you do. What you don’t do. What you say. What you don’t say.

Consistency is the holy grail  It’s difficult. And it’s vital. And brand guidelines are not enough. The best rallying point for consistency is a powerful idea.

Brand strategy is best expressed as an idea  Nobody reads strategy documents. Everybody responds to a big idea.

Marketing needs an ROI  No project is worth undertaking if it does not generate a positive return on investment. But watch how you define investment. Some are money investments. Others are human. Remember the human side of the balance sheet.



I remember the day I found him.
Or did he find me?

Let’s see …
Max had died in April.
Heart attack at midnight on Easter Sunday.
Went out in style and with effect … just as he had lived.

Kolonaki. Tecamachalco. San Angel.
The Upper East Side. Soho. Plaka.
And finally at rest in Ekali.
Not a bad routine for a fox terrier.

My friends had asked me then … “will you get another dog?”
“No … but one might get me …”

It must have been like the middle of September 2002.
9:15am. I left my house that morning as I did on any other.

Agape, smiling a huge smile, opening the garage door.
Me reversing the car out into the narrow alleys of Plaka.
Windows closed.
Music playing.
Cellphone ringing.
Same as any other day.

Then it happened.
Never happened before.
Never happened again.

I glanced in the rearview mirror (lucky Agape) and saw her squashed under the collapsed garage door.
Stopped the car.
Ran back.
Saved her.
Dusted her off.
Smile returned …

And then I heard him….
A cry.
I thought it was a little kitten.

I looked around the car, under the car, everywhere.

I walked back to the car.

Looked again.

I stayed out of the car.
Listening to the silence.
Focussing so that I might understand where the next cry might come from.

Looked around.
Saw a huge stray tabby.
Just as focused as I was.
Close to the storm water drain opposite my house.

The cry.
The drain.
Lifted the cover and saw a three inch fluff of life.
Deformed left paw.
Eyes closed.
Hanging on.

Me. The cat. And this fluff of life.

I lifted him out of the drain and put him in the palm of my hand.
He fitted comfortably.
Walked back to a traumatised but recovering Agape
…. “Agape, this is our new dog.”

I got back into the car.
Left the windows open and drove to the office, a huge smile on my face.

Plook was in my life.
Eyes closed. Five days old. Breathing.
I don’t know what the cat had for breakfast.
But it rained a little later that day and the storm water drain was flooded.