Monthly Archives: June 2011

Bold: how to be brave in business and win

I have just bought a copy of ‘Bold: how to be brave in business and win‘ by Shaun Smith and Andy Milligan.  There’s quite a good website here which gives you a taster of what’s in store.

It looks like an interesting book – lots of case studies of brands which have done ‘bold’ things in order to stand out from the crowd and demonstrate that customer experience is at least as impotant to them as the bottom line is.

Having flicked through the chapters, it looks like a great set of case studies of companies who decided to do things they normally wouldn’t be brave enough to…  But wouldn’t most people want to do the ‘right thing’?  It’s just a case of ensuring that the idea fits the strategy, and ensuring that there is the support both internally and externally to implement it.

I’m going to read the book and then maybe try having a ‘bold’ brainstorm on each of the accounts I work on.

Given a blank sheet of paper, what would be the Bold thing your client could do?

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The Cult Of Done Manifesto

I know it’s old, but I only recently came across the cult of done manifesto.  I think it is because I am a procrastinator and a perfectionist.  I think it might help me.  I am going to stick the poster up on my wall.

In other news, I am quite a fan of manifestos.  I once worked on a brief that was a manifesto.  I might write about that one day.

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Fast Strategy

Glue tweeted this today: the IPA’s new Fast Strategy app.  It’s 70 ideas from planning superstars to help you get better ideas – very timely considering my request recently to add to my ‘7 Things’.

The app looks pretty good – some of the ideas (generally the simplest) are great.  Others are a little bit ‘look at me’.  There is a rating system too, to keep those superstars in check.

I’m going to keep it on my phone – you never know when things like this can help to take your thinking forward.

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7 Things

I gave a presentation to the department I work within a couple of weeks ago.  It was based on a presentation I saw ages ago, at a night hosted by the wonderful She Says.

The presentation summarised many of the key questions we should all ask when we are solving a communications problem.  If we are writing a brief or brainstorming, or assessing creative work, these are quite helpful questions.  I’m sure there are others, and that I have forgotten the original points made in the presentation I saw back in London.  If you can think of any others, please do let me know.

Some of my notes about the things are:

  1. What would a fan say?  i.e. What do people who love the product/service say about it?  This is often quite different from what the client thinks is great about their brand.
  2. What is the elephant in the room?  Is there something we don’t want to mention?  This can help when a brand is in some kind of trouble – mentioning it can make you seem more human.
  3. In what ways is the thing currently social?  i.e. is there a way that people are sharing or talking about this that you – as the agency/brand – can make more of – but more importantly, how you can help your fans make more of it?
  4. Is the thing being used for another purpose than originally intended?  Fairly self explanatory – but watch out – what did Mentos and Coke achieve?
  5. What can we learn from the category?  This is do’s and don’ts, don’t you know?  I mean like for financial services not having loads of stagey stock photos of business people and so forth…
  6. What would life be like without it?  I think this is quite an interesting one which really helps you recognise whether it’s different enough from other products/services/brands and think about a direction you could take it in to make it more important and useful to people.
  7. Is the thing being paired with other things?  i.e. are there potential linkups and partnerships that your audiences really like?
  8. What’s the bleedin’ obvious?  I put this in because so often we try to think of something really clever that no one will ever have thought of but sometimes the answer is staring you straight in the face.

So anyway, those are my 7 things.  Can we make it ten?

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Procrastinators Anonymous

I’ve just finished reading this nice little article about how to break bad habits.  I have lots of bad habits.  I can’t stop biting my nails, I have an ongoing smoking addiction which even writing my own version of Zeno’s Conscience didn’t fix (even though I wrote about 60,000 words), but by far my worst habit is procrastination.

The trouble with bad habits is we confuse them with things that make up who we are.  I would not really be a better person if I had longer nails, and since most smoking is done in secret these days it’s not the glamorous and mysterious thing I thought it was when I started almost 20 years ago.  (Argh.)

The big question is though, would I be a better person if I stopped procrastinating?  Bearing in mind that it isn’t necessarily procrastination that is the bad habit (although I am sure I hang onto this for a reason), it’s being more disciplined about the things I procrastinate over.

I could get up and go for a swim every morning and still be at my desk for 8.30.  I could stop refreshing Twitter and reading other people’s articles and write more of my own.  I could do my ironing more regularly so that every month I don’t discover clothes I had forgotten I had (perhaps a sign that I have too many clothes.)  I could do more home improvements, starting even with sorting out one of the Troublesome Cupboards.

But I don’t.

What I like about the article is that it takes quite a strategic approach to Being a Better Person.  A better me wouldn’t be an olympic-level athlete with an extremely tidy home, she would just feel a bit more in control of her time and feel more like she had a good work-life balance.  Recognising that isn’t being too hard on myself.  I think it’s a pretty good goal.

Whether I can get up on a regular basis to go to the pool remains to be seen, however.

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Up early, lots of thoughts

I’m up early to work on a presentation.  I’ve no idea why it’s easier for me to think at 6.30 than it is at 18.30, but there you go.

I also have my best ideas in the shower.  Quite often I forget them before I have a chance to write them down, a wee bit like dreams.

It’s the first beautiful day in a about a month – hope this weather lasts all weekend so I can ride my bike and get sunburnt.

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