Handing Your Brand to the Consumer: Are You Willing to Let Go?

Really looking forward to the panel session I’ll be leading at ad:tech Sydney on Handing Your Brand to the Consumer: Are You Willing to Let Go?

The panel members have an amazing amount of experience between them and we’re going to have a great discussion. The panel members are:

  • Charis Palmer, Managing Editor, Online Banking Review (@charispalmer)
  • Jackie Maxted, CEO, beautyheaven.com.au (LinkedIn)
  • Gareth Llewellyn, Corporate Communications, Oracle Corporation (@mrgareth)

I’ll post some more information on the topics we will discuss closer to the date.

Are we seeing the death of small government & personal responsibility?


It seems that there are very few political parties that genuinely support small government & individual responsibility any longer.

Further, given the global financial crisis, governments around the world are clearly moving towards a more interventionist model.

Thus we can expect the nanny state to go mad & we can expect increased regulation of personal freedom.  For example, the Australian Government is planning to censor access to the internet in a similar way to internet censorship in China & North Korea.

We can also expect governments to end up running more businesses.  This is not a good outcome for either the businesses or the citizens.  Bad businesses need to be allowed to fail.  Governments need to be allowed to govern & should apply sensible regulation to businesses.  Confusing the role of government and business does not work in the long run.  We have ample evidence of this in the former USSR.

Perhaps we are seeing the end of an era?  It could be argued that this is an era that was started with the US Declaration of Independence in 1776 and is ending – with what, perhaps a whimper?

Here is a political quiz. It can be found over at Advocates for Self-Government (warning they are Libertarians).

Glass half full or half empty?

half glass of beerIt’s all in the attitude really! I have been working with a number of people over the past year as a business coach and it continues to amaze how critical attitude is to success. This is because attitude tends to drive behaviour and what we do leads to results.

Success is a process of taking a variety of inputs and turning them into outputs or results that we want to achieve. The inputs include how we think, how we talk or the language we use, and behaviour.

We often fall into these input modes without conscious thought, simply because it is a habit.  The question is how can we get different results without doing different things?  Or how can we achieve different outputs without changing the inputs?

A few people I’ve worked with have ways of talking and behaving that cast them as powerless and buffeted by the will of others and as not able to create changes so as to achieve desired results.  Other people, in similar roles and situations, see and act like there is the possibility of change and that there is the possibility of achieving different results.

What is interesting here is that we have people in similar situations, in similar organisations but who have vastly different attitudes to their own ability to create change.

It is up to us to choose how we react to a given situation.  The fact is the glass may currently be storing 50% of its possible total volume, but it is up to us how we choose to describe that fact.   So is your glass half empty or half full?  And what are you going to do about it?

Marketing principles for the digital age?

This is the traditional marketing model we all learned in university. But we really need to consider if this model remains appropriate for the digital age.

My instinct is that we need to adapt this traditional model to incorporate new media channels and collaborative communications rather than abandon it. But many people seem to be saying we are moving into an entirely new paradigm.

[RANT: I remain sceptical about the utility of notions such as paradigms & paradigm shifts in general, and also in particular in relation to completely unscientific domains such as marketing*. And I remain sceptical of their utility as an explanatory construct for most things.  In fact, the word paradigm when used by anyone except philosophers of science (like Thomas Kuhn, Karl Popper, Imre Lakatos or Paul Feyerabend)  & in relation to the philosophy of science makes me feel queasy. But that could just be my early liberal arts education coming through (three years of studying philosophy must have some impact!). /RANT]

But putting on a business hat it is clear that we need to find effective ways to allocate scarce resources to enable our brands and products to be known in the marketplace. Further, business experience has shown that structured approaches to expenditure tend to be more sustainable in the long term.

Thus, even in the digital age, businesses need a structured way to plan, coordinate and allocate marketing resources to deliver business value.

For this reason it is unclear why digital and online is not simply considered another medium or channel that is sufficiently encompassed by a traditional marketing model.  The situation regarding digital and online marketing is analogous to that of television when it was introduced. In the early days of TV people did not yet understand the medium and how to communicate using it (like in the 1950s ad below). But only a few years later they had mastered the medium and were delivering messages effectively.

The real difference with this new medium is to understand how it needs to be used from an audience perspective. Especially since now that the audience is no longer a passive consumer, but is becoming an active participant.

Another key area that we need to understand better is metrics for digital and online. In the same way that TV required new ways of measuring value, digital and online marketing must be able to demonstrate ROI.

* BTW anyone out there who thinks marketing is scientific needs to read What Is This Thing Called Science: An Assessment of the Nature and Status of Science and Its Methods

[Image source]

National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo) Retrospective

As a bit of an experiment I participated in National Blog Posting Month for January 2009.  It was a real test of discipline to write something every single day.

But the goal was achieved and now I’m going to drop back to a less aggressive blogging schedule of several times a week.

One of the ways to get better at something is to practise it, and participating in something like this is a good training exercise.