Three years young

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Image courtesy of Below Zero.

Forgive this self indulgent post but I just wanted to say thank you to everyone that has helped adliterate stay the course for three years this month, whether commenting, linking or reading. Self evidently I couldn’t do it without you.

In particular your comments that offer a thoughtfulness and intelligence often lacking in the original post! And at best they not only get the debate going but take us somewhere new and far more interesting.

Incidentally looking at the 2420 comments so far, the first was from Rob Mortimer as was virtually the last. That deserves the blogging equivalent of a carriage clock.

The adliterate address 2008

Greetings adliterate readers everywhere and a belated happy New Year.

I’m not in the habit of writing self referential posts but a little bit of an agenda for the year never goes amiss.

2008 marks the third year in the life of this website, starting as it did in March 2005. And my sincere hope is that I can continue to deliver a relatively frequent diet of new ideas, contrary thinking and unpalatable opinions.

It also sees me take up gainful employment once more as I am now Director of Strategy for Saatchi & Saatchi in the UK, so can once again trouble the ad industry from the inside.

Now conventional wisdom suggests this will see a decline in blogging activity. I really hope not. In fact, having had nine months outside the ad industry doing brand consultancy, I found it more difficult to generate content with all that free blogging time that when I was working in an agency.

I guess the easy bit about blogging is finding the time, the difficult bit is finding the ideas – because if you have an idea then the time finds itself.

And being surrounded by the world of brands and everyday brand problems is always more conducive to having ideas than being at home with the mac.

So fear not readers – the online journey goes onward.

And, of course, if there is anything that you’d like to see more or less of this year drop me a line.

Wisdom must be caught not taught

I’m in love with the aphoristic form as you well know. And I think they are extremely handy in our business. Certainly in persuading people of a point of view or course of action – such as David Ogilvy’s why keep a dog and bark yourself, or Bill Bernbach’s we must stop believing in what we sell and start selling what we believe in.

The are also great in framing strategies, approaches and ideas – no one is interested in your positioning, they only want to know your position or Coherence is more important than consistency for example. And on occasions great brand thoughts can take an aphoristic form, I’d argue they are the ones that get remembered best.

So imagine my delight when Russell gave me “The World in a phrase – A brief history of the aphorism” by James Geary.

Blogging goes mainstream

For a while now Todd Andrlick has been compiling a weekly ranking of Marketing blogs called the Power 150. Earlier this year he expanded it outside the US to create a Global Power 150, and for the first time blogs like Russell’s, John’s, Gavin’s,James’ and mine got included.

So authoritative is this ranking that Advertising Age has decided to adopt it as it’s official benchmark for marketing blogs and bloggers (in part as a way of communicating how influential or not a bloggers voice is, when quoted editorially) and will host and run the Global Power 150.

What is exciting is that the industry is starting to take the blogosphere seriously and has, in return, given it a univeral standard to judge the potency of its individual voices.

One wonders whether the UK marketing and advertising press will start to support its indigenous maketing blogs in a similar fashion, rather than seeing them as a quirky and colourful fringe activity.

Now thats what I call collective intelligence

A while ago Gavin Heaton and Drew Mc Lellan asked a bunch of us bloggers to contribute to an e-book about the Age of Conversation. We were each to contribute a chapter of 400 words about our take on the subject. As more people got excited about the project and spurred on by the idea that the profits would go to a children’s charity more bloggers got involved, with just over 100 of the world’s leading marketers, writers, thinkers and creative innovators finally co-authoring the book.

Not only is this likely to be a bit of a ground breaking read (I certainly liked my 1/100th of it) but its also a fascinating experiment in the wisdom of the crowd and and ferocious speed of collective self publishing. A book that is about half the length of an average novel has been conceived, the authors found, written, edited and published in hardback, softback and e-book formats in about 3 months.

And if it is all nonsense (which I would really suggest quite strongly it is not) then Variety gets stacks of dosh out of it.

Buy a copy now.

No really buy a copy now!

You can get the link to buy and all full list of the authors by continuing to read below.

The pen is mightier than the trackpad

I know this is way off topic but I can’t help myself.

I got given a Wacom tablet for my birthday recently and I think I am in love.

It looks fantastic, its brilliant for drawing and as a way to zip around the screen it kicks seven types of shit out of my trackpad. It even comes with a mouse that gives my mac a right click – weird.

Go and get one and love yourself forever.

Future Marketing Summit scaled

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Hillary and Tenzing enjoying a hearty cup of beef tea while scaling their own summit. Image courtesy of bernard-Voyer.com

Yesterday I had the great pleasure of chair in a panel session on technology at the Future Marketing Summit in London. With me were Steve Henry (creative legend and ex-employer), Rory Sutherland (Ogilvy supremo), Amelia Torode (VCCP’s digital chief) and David Grebert (P&G’s future guru on advertising and instore experience). We were a little light on technologists to be honest but I rather enjoyed myself having these brains at my beck and call.

It is always a pain as a facilitator that you can’t lob in your own point of view so I make sure I pissed all over the subject to before hand in my introduction. I talked about the need to retain the magic and delight that new technology brings back to marketing, my preference for tech’ that amplifies brand ideas and the need for us to be more modest when approaching new technology and media.

You can download the speech (if you are a regular reader don’t expect too much you haven’t seen here already) while the slides are on a slideshare (which you won’t be able to see if you are reading this as a feed).

Dynamic micro brands

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The Swallow tailed hummingbird. Like most dynamic micro brands they are small agile and very fast. Image courtesy of Flavio Cruvinel Brandao

So, I have been obsessing recently about cool and funky little brands like Method, Hendricks, Riverford Organic Vegetables, Dorset Cereals, Good Energy and the like.

And I thought I might draw some conclusions about what is going on and the things that unite them.

The intention is to provide some learning for other brand owners, especially when they are approaching NPD projects.

The Brand Catwalk – Dorset Cereals

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Gold Hill in Shaftesbury, Dorset. Location for THAT ad. Image courtesy of Andy Latt

I don’t know what I love most about the uber premium breakfast cereal brand, Dorset Cereals – the idea, the product, the packaging or the online experience. So you are just going to have to endure me whittering on about all of them.

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