Minnows in a world of giants

I did a panel session a few weeks ago with Russell at Promax, the annual conference and awards for the TV promotional people in the UK.

We were on the same bill (well they were on the main stage and we were in the studio) as some real giants of the media world – Will Gompertz (who heads up Tate Media), Emily Bell (the genius behind the Guardian’s mastery of the world of online journalism) and the legendary Stephen Berlin Johnson (he of ‘The Ghost Map’ and ‘Everything Bad is Good for You’ fame).

I was scared of messing up so I made some notes about the subjects we were due to cover and I thought I’d post them. They are a bit scrappy but if you are interested you will get the general drift.

Why we love Innocent

The marketing community are often accused of being rather over enthusiastic about Innocent – harbouring feelings about it that aren’t perhaps shared by the wider world.

Indeed you would have been hard pressed to find people out side the North London media community at this summer’s Innocent Village Fete, I even spotted James Murdoch there.

Every brand needs an ecosystem

I had the great pleasure, along with the entirety of the North London Croc wearing classes, of spending Sunday at the Innocent Village Fete in The Regent’s Park.

All the usual stuff applies about how lovely Innocent are (too lovely perhaps?) but what interested me was the brand ecosystem that Innocent is nurturing around themselves. Not least, because I have talked about many of the companies in this ecosystem in the posts on Dynamic Micro Brands.

Dynamic micro brands – Reggae Reggae Sauce

Time for some good old fashioned brand fawning.

Anyone from our business worth their salt knew that when Levi Roots wrapped up his presentation to the Dragons on the BBC’s Dragon’s Den in March that his Reggae Reggae Sauce was a sure fire bet.

The sauce, so far made only in Levi Root’s own kitchen for sale at Nottinghill Carnival, already had all the ingredients of a Dynamic Micro Brand. All it needed was someone to get his distribution sorted and help find a manufacturer to meet the new levels of demand.

A tale of two retail experiences

Lots of nonsense is talked about brands.

Especially these days when the entire marketing community seems to have gone beardy weirdy, believing that cosumers and brands are now best buddies. This approach largely ignores the small issue of capitalism – the way that businesses extract a profit from the consumer.

For me the primary service a brand delivers to a business is in getting consumers to do things that are irrational and often against their best interests – to trade-off price, quality or service. If not why would a business have them?

And two retail experiences pointed this up to me in their very different ways – Wholefoods Market and Ikea.

So many channels but how many brands?

I found this data on Ofcom’s website (the long winter nights simply fly by in the Huntington household). It got me to thinking how many real brands there are in the multichannel universe since it asks people in multichannel homes which channel they would chose if they could only have one (as good a definition of a brand as any). Clearly there will be a long tail but interesting that the big boys still rule (even the last gasps of ITV1). Note also the performance of Sky Sports – as many 16-24s would take Sky Sports as Channel 4.

Creating responsible desire

This is some thinking I did about ethics and advertising around the beginning of the decade. It lead to the idea that in order to promote sustainability (the ultimate aim of any business) advertising has to find ways to create desire more responsibly. This paper tries to explore the issues that surround this idea.

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