Advertising Creative – Why You Should Go with Your Gut

When I started my career in travel and tourism marketing, an old boss of mine (who now, I should add, is a good friend) had a particular habit when it came to appraising creative that used to drive me up the wall.


‘I don’t like it,’ he used to say. ‘Just get them to do it again.’


‘But what don’t you like about it?’ I would ask.


‘I just don’t like it. Get them to do it again,’ he would repeat.


No further promptings or pleadings would yield me any further information so my only feedback to an often perplexed agency would be, ‘Sorry, he doesn’t like it. Don’t ask me why. You’re going to need to do it again.’


Back then, I was hot out of sales. I was numbers driven and analytical – I wanted reasoned argument, not gut reaction.


Of course, I still appreciate numbers and analysis. But I understand my old boss better now, because there are times when the gut is better.


When someone shows you a piece of creative, go with your initial reaction. If you like it great. If not, throw it out.  Don’t try and second guess your target market if you’re not one of them. Why? Because:


A. You can’t.


B. Human beings tend to react to things in similar ways, so if you love it, your customers will probably love it. If you don’t, they probably won’t.


You can make this process more robust by showing it to some people who are in your target market, but then just gauge their gut reaction – don’t ask them to analyse it. It’s a false situation – only marketers analyse marketing – customers have better things to do with their lives.


And guard against all those agency tricks they use to get you to like their favoured creative.  All that preamble about their thinking and how they arrived at that solution. Your customers aren’t going to get an introduction when they see that ad. They’re not going to have 3 other versions to compare it to. They’re just going to see it – pure, unadulterated, unexplained.  You need to replicate that experience. Tell your agency to cut to the chase and show you their favoured creative – they shouldn’t need to explain it to you.


And while I’m on the subject of agencies, they always make your logo too small – probably because they know that whatever size they make it you’re going to ask them to make it bigger. ..

Satisfied Customers Won’t Grow Your Travel or Tourism Business

On face value, I realise that would seem to be a rather dumb statement. What else are you supposed to do other than satisfy your customers? Well, the problem is, satisfied customers don’t talk. They’re satisfied, but not blown away. You’ve done a good job, but a good job isn’t enough in these competitive times.


So what do you need to do?  ‘Exceed expectations!’ I hear you cry. Well, that’s good. But a bit of a cliché, frankly.   It’s a phrase that’s trotted out time and again and not many people who recount it out are very good at explaining exactly how those expectations are exceeded, or indeed, what those expectations were in the first place.


So let me put my own 2 penneth worth in – if you want to exceed people’s expectations and get them talking about your brand, you need to surprise them.


Before I go on to explain, l should take a couple of steps back and explain why I’m talking about customer service on what’s meant to be a marketing blog. Well, it’s my view that exceptional customer service is the new marketing.


Look at wildly successful brands like Apple. The money’s invested in the experience – the products, the environment in which they’re showcased and the service that surrounds them – not in fancy-dan advertising. The products do the talking – the advertising just showcases them.


The fact is, the age of social media has made it more and more difficult to coat a brand with a clever marketing ‘varnish’.  If you don’t deliver an experience that lives up to your promise, you’ll get found out and exposed in a very pubic way – on review sites, forums, Twitter, Facebook et al.


We all dream of creating fantastically clever and successful campaigns, but they’re few and far between in any industry, not just in travel and tourism.  That shouldn’t stop us striving to find the message and the media that best connect our brand’s vision with the customers who are going to identify with our vision, but shifting investment to the customer experience, for premium brands at least, is the way to go.


As I’m sure you’re aware, the biggest new business driver for any company is word of mouth. And the best way to get people talking about your brand is to surprise them. And you surprise them from doing things differently to other companies in your sector. Something they’re not expecting. Something that’s going to have an emotional impact.


Let’s be frank, that shouldn’t be overly difficult.  The experience at most companies in the travel industry – be they airlines, tour operators, car hire companies – is pretty samey. And consumer expectations of the service they’re going to receive in any sector, not just travel and tourism, is not exactly stratospheric.


So let me give you an example.  At Black Tomato, we used to organise ‘Back to Reality’ kits which were sent out to clients to arrive the day they got home.  They consisted of a DVD and a takeaway voucher with the aim of extending the holiday vibe for one more night.


What are client expectations when they get home?  A written questionnaire to fill in at best but probably no contact from their travel company at all. The ‘Back to Reality’ kit was a big surprise compared to what people were expecting. Did it get people talking? Of course it did. Not just clients but travel journalists too – plenty of PR was generated off the back of it.


But it was also great customer service – recognising an emotional low for consumers, the return from a holiday, and doing something with no obvious commercial rationale that just showed that we cared. Exceeding expectations? I’ll say.


There are companies out there that specialise in entertaining people while they wait in queues – a great piece of customer service and a great surprise for airlines to offer for busy flights. Frankly, any car hire company that didn’t bombard me with insurances I didn’t need when I got to the counter would be a pleasant surprise and would exceed my expectations. See – there’s plenty of opportunity.


So once you’ve read this article, go away and write down the experience your customers have from their first contact with you until they return home. Then brainstorm how you could do it differently. It needs to be something surprising, something which seems to have no commercial rationale (although it does – more business through word of mouth), an idea perhaps you’ve borrowed and adapted from a company outside your sector.


Once you start down this route, they’ll be no stopping you. And you have to keep innovating because today’s surprises are tomorrow’s expectations. But you’ll reap the benefits in the long term – of that there’s no doubt.

Before You Can Market Something, You Need to Know What You’re Marketing

I was talking with an internet consultant contact of mine the other day – chatting about how he helps businesses with their online client acquisition strategies. In the midst of our conversation he said something very interesting – something that resonated with my own experience:


‘Before I even get into the online strategy I spend a lot of time working with clients identifying what they actually sell. You’ll be surprised how many don’t know…’


Now clearly you’ll be assuming that this guy must work entirely with morons. How on earth can they not know what they’re selling?


Well of course they know what they’re selling – at least on a functional level – in our case, holidays, airline seats, hotel rooms, destinations etc. But they don’t understand what they’re really selling – what their unique proposition to the market is. Why people are buying from them.  That’s where people like me and him come in.


Let’s take holidays or weekend breaks – as that’s the market we’re in. One thing consumers have these days is a wealth of choice – of places to go, hotels to stay in, airlines to fly, or people to organise it through. So why should they choose your destination, hotel, airline or tour operator? What makes you unique?


If you can’t sum answer that question in a succinct sentence or 2, you’re in trouble because if you can’t do it, you can bet your potential customers can’t do it either.


Let’s take an example – SouthWest Airlines in the US, the airline that Michael O’Leary’s Ryanair is modelled on. Their proposition? The low cost airline.


OK, that doesn’t seem so profound. It doesn’t need to be, it just needs to be directional for everyone that works there. The (as in the one and only, the lowest cost) low cost airline as a proposition tells staff in no uncertain terms that costs must be stripped out wherever possible. Everything must be done for less than other airlines pay.


Ever wonder why Michael O’Leary keeps coming out with outrageous pronouncements about what they’re going to charge for next – toilets, fat people etc? Well, first of all, the press laps it up and it’s good for PR. Secondly, he’s sending a signal to the travelling public and his staff that he’ll leave no stone unturned to make the basic ticket cheaper. If that means charging people for toilet trips and love handles so the normal cast-iron bladdered and svelte travelling public can fly for less, then so be it. Both Ryanair and Southwest Airlines are relentless in living and communicating their propositions – we might not like them, but we expect them to be the cheapest (even when sometimes they’re not.)


I should explain that a proposition isn’t a strapline – you don’t have to use it in your advertising (although you can if you want to). It’s succinct way of summing up what makes your organisation or place unique. But if you company lives it, and communicates it, then customers will see and experience something consistent. They’ll understand what you’re about and they can make an informed decision as to whether they want to buy into that concept. If they don’t know what you’re about, they’re not going to value what you sell.


Your proposition might be based on a functional benefit, like costs, or an emotional one, like fun, romance or security. Perhaps your company knows it’s destination like nobody else does, is the leading specialist in a certain type of travel, is the best place to pursue a particular activity or has staff that are obsessed with great service. Or a unique combination of those things.


Whatever your proposition is, it needs to:


• Differentiating, a reason people would choose you and nobody else,
• Appealing to enough people to meet your business objectives,
• Actionable, so your team can live it and communicate it and
• Credible, because otherwise you’ll get rumbled and in the social media age, you’ll probably get rumbled in a very public way


And if you’re racking your brains and you really can’t think what it is – and plenty of organisations, including big ones, spend time wrestling with this dilemma – you can come and talk to someone like me.

Are You a Travel Marketer or Simply a Travel Promotion-er?

An old boss of mine once said to me, ‘Our job is to get the phones ringing’.


Granted, this was in the days before the internet but it does really seem to be a pretty limited ambition for a marketer, and it’s not a mantra I’ve pursued throughout my career.


Sitting in my CIM Diploma classes, I seem to remember there being 7 P’s in the service marketing mix (Product, Place, Price, Promotion, People, Process, Physical Evidence – I’m quite impressed I can still remember them!) so why should we only be interested in one – Promotion?  It is a ‘marketing’ mix after all and we are marketers, not promotion-ers.


Worse still, if we hunker down in our promotion silo, we’re really onto a hiding for nothing. In the world of user review sites, blogs, Facebook, Twitter et al you can’t throw a promotional veil over a substandard offering. It just doesn’t work anymore. So if you’re doing your job properly, you’ve got to get involved in those other ‘Ps’ so that the message your delivering is consistent with what you’re offering.


I’m not advocating megalomania here – you don’t have to control those other 6 Ps – but you do have to influence them.  The best way any marketer can do that is lead a process to define the brand vision and values and then undertake an exercise to roll out those values across the company. The aim is to ensure everyone understands and internalises those values, and identifies ways in which they can deliver their part of the mix in a manner consistent with them.


Whilst we’re in a more holistic mood, it struck me that perhaps we need to look at the marketing budget in a different way too.  Of course, we fight tooth and nail to maintain every penny of our budgets but if the core aim of marketing budgets is to bring in customers, then perhaps we should be prepared for parts of budget to be re-allocated to other Ps.


For example, is a CRM budget best spent mailing people on a frequent basis, 95% of whom aren’t interested in your message at the time you’re delivering it, or would it make sense for elements of that budget to be spent on surprise gifts for top clients.  The latter would be a better way of achieving the goal of a CRM budget – customer retention – with the added benefit of positive word of mouth.


Let’s be honest – our role as marketers is to maximise the profits of the company for the minimum investment. We need to think more holistically about the levers we pull to make that happen.

Travel & Tourism Marketers – Time to Take Down Your Ivory Towers

I like to think of good marketing as ‘the mortar between the bricks’ of a strong organisation. Good marketers should bind everything together, making sure the customer experience is solid and consistent with the brand’s values from beginning to end.  That’s the only way to build an organisation which realises its potential.


The problem is, too many of us build a separate tower away from the rest of the organisation and only very rarely open the gates up to let anyone else inside.  You might think it’s only your responsibility to deliver prospects, and then it’s sales’ job to convert them into customers. Or you may have created a wonderful vision document for the brand which was presented at a board meeting a few months after you joined but hasn’t seen the light of day since. In both cases, you’re condemning yourself  to shouting from the parapet when the people in the courtyard below simply can’t hear you.


I’ve not been immune from ‘ivory tower’ syndrome myself. Let me talk about a specific incident, early in my marketing career so you can learn from my experience.


Ivory Towers - Easy To Build But Tricky To Dismantle

Ivory Towers - Easy To Build But Tricky To Dismantle

When I joined Simply Travel back in September 2000, I laid the foundations of my tower right from the start.


I knew I had to get to know the brand better, so I arranged meetings with my managerial colleagues.  I even took a trip out to Turkey so I could understand the sort of experience our customers had. And I ploughed through swathes of information on the market, the company and it’s competititors.


A good start, surely?  Nope – I simply wasn’t comprehensive enough.  I’d had opinions from one tier of the organisation, but I’d barely spoken to anyone on the front line. Plus I missed a swathe of important and opinionated individuals – the Product Managers.  Hence, when I later came to sell in my initial strategic ideas, I had limited credibility amongst certain important opinion leaders. First lesson learnt – before I could expect people to listen to me, I had to demonstrate I’d listened to them.


I took my initial research away and drew perceptual maps to help me understand the market, where we stood in it and which direction the opportunities were in. But I kept things very close to my chest and once I’d drawn my conclusions, I presented them to the leadership team. Once I had their buy in, I presented them to my own team.


And the response? Joy at being led by such an inspired strategic thinker? Nope. There were underwhelmed to say the least. Why? Because I hadn’t involved a bunch of smart, passionate and marketing literate people who could have added significant value in the evolution of something that was central to their task. Well done, Ben – first floor of the tower successfully built. And my lesson? I needed to keep things tight – strategy evolution by committee leads to fuzzy strategy – but by involving the right sort of people in the thought process the strategy would have been better ‘road tested’ , and I’d have had some valuable allies when selling it in.


Of course, when I came to sell the strategy in to other departments, I met resistance because I hadn’t spent enough time listening and building credibility up front.   But also because I’d committed the cardinal sin of interpreting that strategy for them.  Bad move. That was the 2nd floor, the parapet and the conical bit on the top added all at once.


I had some uncomfortable meetings to say the least. In fact, in some I felt very much like a christian facing a pack of lions in the Colosseum. I can’t blame them for how they reacted – ‘marketing upstart who’s only been around for 3 months tells me to start to do things differently when I think I’m doing a pretty good job’. I couldn’t tell them how to do their job, because they knew it better than me. What I could do was to give them a framework to make their own decisions as to how what they did could better support the brand values. ‘Inspire’ rather than ‘tell’ or ‘sell’, so to speak. That was lesson 3 learnt.


I spent the next 4 years taking my tower down block by blockand believe me, unlike real towers they’re harder to take down than to put up. In fact, by the time I’d left, both myself and my department were consulted on a wide range of brand related decisions, from service standards in the UK to what the reps wore. And not because people were compelled to, but because they valued our opinion.


I had to build relationships and trust with some pretty opinionated people in that time but I learnt from my mistakes.  If you learn from them too you’ll find yourself building bridges rather than towers – a much more useful type of construction project for travel and tourism marketers.

Brand Vision & Values: It’s Common Sense, Isn’t It?

People are always telling me that marketing is ‘common sense’ – usually those not in the profession or those that have made a made a move from another role.


Frankly, this particular observation drives me round the twist.  It’s like telling a doctor all those years of study and practice were a waste of time as you can just look up your ailment on the internet.  Quite apart from that it’s clearly wrong.  We’re surrounding by thousands of examples of ‘common sense’ marketing and do we pay a jot of notice to it – probably not.


But every now and again, something really cuts through all the surrounding clutter. And creating those campaigns requires a deep understanding of target customers, the brand’s own message and the fundamentals of communication and persuasion. Let me give you an example of how transformative clearly expressed vision and values can be.


I had the good fortune back in 2003 to work with a chap called Marcus Codrington Fernandez, one of the UK’s leading brand gurus – the man behind the success of brands such as IBM, Mercedes-Benz and Orange.


My brand, Simply Travel, was drifting – and drifting in the wrong direction. Our campaign was becoming increasingly ineffective, our service levels were slipping – everything we tried had little or no effect. Like many marketers, I was focusing on the tools – trying different advertising formats, different timings of mailings and emailings and different offers. Good ‘common sense’ marketing – problem was, I wasn’t getting the message right.


Marcus had been recommended by another supplier. I met him more in hope than expectation. He suggested he spend some time with members of the Simply team – both old and new and across all functions – to define a positioning for the brand that we could use to shed new light on all our activity.



The Celestial Model of Brand Vision and Values

Marcus’s aim was to define a vision for the brand – a guiding star upon which we kept our gaze firmly fixed as we moved forward – and 5 values, the rungs on the celestial ladder we needed to ascend if we were going to reach our goal. For him, we needed to define no more. No rational benefits, emotional benefits, brand attributes or any of the other numerous and sometimes unfathomable layers of the ‘brand onion.’ His view was if you got the vision and values right, and then followed the fundamentals of good communication, everything else would flow. Like a deliciously simple recipe you can easily remember and make again and again rather than one with an irritatingly long list of instructions.


So what did he come up with? He defined our vision as ‘Helping People to Find Their Own Way’ – a beautifully simple way of defining our role for our clients. We weren’t there to tell them what to do, but we weren’t there to stand back and let them do it all themselves and make inevitable and avoidable mistakes.  We were facilitators and helpers – enabling people to discover the little known and unspoilt parts of the Mediterranean we loved, but in their own way.


Our values? Chatty, Honest, Informative, Nimble and Surprising or ‘CHINS’ as they became known.


Onions - Great for Eating But Not So Great for Defining Brands

Onions - Great for Eating But Not So Great for Defining Brands

Chatty because we were passionate about what we did and wanted to share it with people, because we viewed our customers as fellow travellers rather than transactions and because we were just as interested in them as they were in us. Honest because the places and properties we chose were authentic and we wanted to depict them in as honest a light as we could because that made for happy customers. Informative because we knew our destinations and properties inside out and wanted to share our knowledge with those who wanted to listen. Nimble because we moved fast to deal with customers problems and faster than our competitors in unearthing new places. And surprising because people like surprises – good ones at least – and they’re what makes an experience memorable. And memorable holidays make people want to come back and tell others about them.


By reviewing all our activity in the cold light of these visions and values, we made some remarkable things happen. Our customer service ratings in the UK and overseas leapt up after 4 years of decline. Our marketing efforts scooped awards at CIMTIG’s annual bash. And I’m sure we outperformed the market – we certainly outperformed our sister brands at TUI.


My point is that we have a tendency to get immersed in the best ways of using the tools in marketing rather than focusing on the core message which will resonate with our customers. The ‘what’ rather than the ‘why’ or the ‘how, so to speak.  But I can be the most skilled paintbrush user in the whole of the world – without a vision I’m just a painter/decorator, not an artist.


So the next time someone tells you marketing is ‘just common sense’, you can tell them from me that they’re right – ‘run-of-the-mill’ marketing is common sense.  And great marketing is sense too, but of an entirely more uncommon variety.

Has Social Media Re-Written the Rules of Travel & Tourism Marketing?

Have the rules of travel and tourism marketing been re-written with the emergence of Facebook, Twitter et al? Or are we simply playing the same game with a different set of tools at our disposal?

We’ve all heard quotes like ‘social media is a game changer’ or ‘you’ve lost control of your brand’ from the new crop of social media experts that have sprung up due to the rapid adoption of services such as Twitter and Facebook.  But have the rules of marketing really been re-written? For me, the answer is ‘no’.


A very clever chap called Marcus Codrington-Fernandez, a man who has worked on brands such as IBM, Mercedes and Orange (and has now invented a cricket bat) explained to many years before the social media revolution that a brand was communicated by a series of conversations. Some of these conversations the brand would be directly involved with and some not (see fig 1 below). A large part of the marketer’s brief was to get the right sort of conversations going about their brand.

Brand Conversations - the Good Old Days

Brand Conversations - the Good Old Days

So brands have always been about conversations, and people were having conversations long before social media came along. So what has social media changed?  Well I’m not sure ‘change’ is the right word. ‘Amplied’ and/or ‘Multiplied’ would be more appropriate.


What it has done is engendered new social connections, multiplied the level of conversation, increased the speed of diffusion of those conversations and made them much more visible (see fig 2 below).


Brand Conversations - Post Social Media

Brand Conversations - Post Social Media


To give you can example close to home, my wife is an avid ‘Facebooker’ and I dabble with Twitter. We’ve have both made new social connections as a result of these services with people we may not have been in contact with otherwise. For my wife, its old friends and colleagues she’d lost touch with and for me its people who share a professional interest.


And there’s no doubt that the number of conversations we have has increased. Both of us now have conversations with new and existing contacts that simply wouldn’t have happened before. You post something about your day you think your friends might be interested in, and ‘hey presto’ they respond. But we still email, we still skype, we still text and, heaven forbid, we still occasionally talk to people face to face.


Of course we’ve all heard the ‘wildfire’ effect of social media. The Jan Moir/Stephen Gately furore was whipped up on Twitter and most people who complained about the Jonathan Ross/Russel Brand incident never ever heard it live. But ‘old’ media could spread good and bad news – the Mail in the case of JR/RB – it’s just speeded things up and allowed us to more readily connect directly with the people in the heart of the firestorm.


And social media conversations, especially on Twitter, are much more visible than they were before – Google can’t index personal emails and IM like it can Twitter for eg. As a travel company, you can use twitter search to find someone looking for honeymoon ideas and make some useful suggestions. Or find someone moaning about your service and nip the problem in the bud.  But then again, you could find someone complaining about your service on TripAdvisor – it just that social media makes it easier to identify and connect.


As individuals. social media enables us to do things that we’ve always done and always wanted to do – have conversations with people we share an affinity with. It’s just made it a darn site easier and therefore encouraged us to do it more often. When push comes to shove, it’s people using these things, and people’s motivations are the same as they’ve always been.


So the game hasn’t changed – engender the right sort of conversations about your brand – you’ve just got a few new tools in your locker which means you need to re-think your tactics.  But don’t throw out the old rulebook.


And the de rigueur phrase that irritates me most of all – ‘you’ve lost control of your brand’. Rubbish.  You haven’t suddenly lost control of your brand because you never had complete control of it in the first place. Conversations were always taking place about your brand that you never had complete control over. But by focusing on delivering a customer experience consistent with your vision and values, you could influence those conversations in the same way you can influence the new conversations happening as a result of Facebook, Twitter et al.

BA’s Campaign Proves to Go Forwards You Sometimes Need to Look Backwards

I rather like British Airway’s ‘To Fly, To Serve’ campaign. As a marketer it appeals to me on several levels.


Firstly, it’s focusing on what is perceived as a core brand strength – service, delivered in a distincly British way. As BA’s MD of Brands and Customer Service, Frank Van Der Post, put it:


‘BA is a very strong brand. We do not need to reinvent ourselves as something else. What we need to do is to tell the story a little louder.’


Secondly, they’re backing words with actions – £5bn of investment in new aircraft, new cartering and new technology to enable their staff to deliver better service and their customers to better serve themselves (i.e. the ability to print their own luggage tags at the airport).


Thirdly, they’re involving their staff – which makes sense as your staff are at the core of any service proposition. Not only are they focusing aspects of the campaign on specific staff and their stories, but they clearly see re-instilling staff pride in the brand is as important as re-instilling our pride in the national flag carrier.  The ‘To Fly, To Serve’ positioning is not only something for staff to rally around, it’s a challenge they for them to live up to.


Fourthly (!?), the agency has had the courage to say something that’s already there will do the job rather than trying to be clever and inventing something new.  That’s brave, and it’s a bravery that many marketers don’t display in their haste to ‘put their stamp’ on the brand.


In ‘To Fly, To Serve’ BA’s agency, BBH  have unearthed and lovingly restored something right at the foundations of the brand – a bit like a marketing ‘Time Team’.  For me, it highlights we should all be great students of our brands – brand archaeologists, so to speak – as often we’ll need to look backwards to inspire our brands to go forwards.


When I was at Simply Travel, we didn’t need to look back that far but just glancing at the brochure covers from 5-10 years previously of women herding sheep in Crete reminded us that the core appeal of the brand was the ability to transport people to places from which they could enjoy their own authentic experiences. Our brand was more about the authenticity of a place than the facilities of the accommodation.


I should imagine that there are many travel brands out there that have lost their way – in the search for growth and new customers they’ve compromised the core essences of their brands. And if your potential customers start to get confused about what you stand for, your ability to command a premium erodes away.


I’m not saying travel companies shouldn’t innovate, but see your brand as a house. Make tasteful alterations to exterior and interior to bring it up to date, but don’t mess with the foundations otherwise you’ll bring the whole thing toppling down.


Happy 10th Birthday to 100% Pure New Zealand

Hats off to Tourism New Zealand – their consistency has been rewarded.


Congratulations to Tourism New Zealand on their ‘100% Pure New Zealand campaign’.


100 Percent Pure NZ - 10 Years Old

100 Percent Pure NZ - 10 Years Old

OK – so it first launched 10 years ago but Tourism New Zealand has just been voted ‘best at destination branding’ during a survey of their peers by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation and European Travel Commission. ‘100% Pure New Zealand’ was the factor sited by their peers for the accolade.


I remember going to the launch at Vinopolis back in 1999 (showing my age…), a memorable event because Neil Finn of Crowded House played live, and I have to admit, I was a bit underwhelmed. It didn’t have the cleverness of the previous campaign – you remember, the one contrasting the stresses of London with the wavy green grass.


But sometimes us marketers are too clever for our own good and forget our target audience isn’t our peers.


“100% Pure New Zealand” is a simple but thoroughly researched and well thought through campaign that combines a clear brand strategy with great imagery and fantastic music. It gives a destination short on icons a clear, straightforward positioning, as relevant and appealing to audiences now as it was 10 years ago (and probably in 10 years time as well).


It struck me a while back that there’s much too much chopping and changing in the marketing profession. As each new Marketing Director comes in, they’re keen to make their mark and shake things up a bit – I’ve done it myself. New strategy, new campaign, new direction.


But people aren’t in the real world aren’t as intimately involved with our brand as we are. And neither do they get bored with something as quickly, because they’re not seeing it every day.  A consistent message delivered over a long period – as long as its consistent with brand’s essence – builds recognition, credibility and trust.


For example, I have no idea how long that Jack Daniels campaign has been running on the Tube but I recognise it instantly and often wander down the platform to stand opposite one because despite the campaign’s longevity, they’re always entertaining. In fact, over the years I’ve probably become a minor expert on whisky maturation and I don’t even drink the stuff.


And look at what that long running Patek Philippe campaign has done for them – from niche brand to the one of world’s most desired watches.


So when you’re starting in a new role, think twice before you dispense with the old campaign. It will mark you out as a considered individual, prepared to put ego to one side.


And if you do decide to make a change, just bear in mind that when you dispense with the bathwater, the baby just might go out with it too.