Purpose or the Paycheck?

In 2010, Kirsty Henshaw appeared on the popular TV series “Dragons Den”. She had invented a healthy alternative to ice-cream, and was looking for a £65K investment in exchange for 15% of her company.

Kirsty successfully secured dragons Peter Jones and Duncan Bannatyne as her new partners. Granted, her product is innovative. At a feature level, it’s bang-on trend by being low fat, and low calorie. It’s also free of dairy, sugar, gluten, additives, soya, cholesterol and nuts. But watch the clip and you’ll realise it’s not just Kirsty’s product that catches the interest of the multi-millionaire investors, it’s her story. This exemplifies branding through storytelling. Read more

Steve Jobs and my Dad

I’ll never forget the day Steve Jobs died. As one of the true visionaries and personal heroes in my lifetime, I’d followed him with unfaltering admiration for his passion, attention to detail, and ability to inspire. In fact I’d followed him for so long, I almost felt like I knew him personally. Like many others on the day he died, I learnt of his passing on the actual device that he had invented.
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Brand (You)

For any fellow Apprentice fans, you will no doubt remember the infamous Stuart Baggs gracing our screens during series 6 of the award-winning TV show back in autumn 2010.

Baggs entertained viewers with a blend of relentless enthusiasm and humourous remarks, but above all a referral to himself as a “brand”. He was constantly ridiculed by Lord Sugar for this self-styled reference, and was completely shot down by Sugar’s sidekick Claude Littner during the interview round.
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Babies Names

I’m now at an age where many of my friends are having children. How quickly times change. It wasn’t that long ago when they were getting in at 3AM; now they are getting up at 3AM to change nappies!

Some of my friends have always had names in their head for what to call their kids. Whereas, others ponder for hours over baby naming books, choosing something which sounds just right.

What is actually in a name, and does it really matter what you call your newborn? What’s better – a name that stands out, or one that fits in? Fitting in is expected – it’s non disruptive. Take Andrew Smith for example, a nice normal name. It doesn’t offend, but merely blends quietly into the background.
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Theme without the Park

A good friend once told me that to be effective, any marketing message should be written in a way that an intelligent 12 year old can understand.

Spending the majority of my working life in the software world, it’s common for me to witness technologists promoting products in techno geek speak – language which nobody understands but them.

Think about how you market your product or service. Can you summarise it within 20 seconds? Is it clear enough for your young niece or nephew to understand? Do you promote it in a creative manner, or are using the same tired techniques all your competitors are?
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People Love an Underdog

It’s a given that businesses are always striving to be number one. To gain the most market share and be seen as top dog. How many times have you lost out to a bigger competitor, or the so-called market leader? What if being the underdog was actually a position you could capitalise on to become bigger?

Back in the early 1960′s, Hertz was the clear winner in the car rental business, with Avis one of the underdogs. Instead of moaning that they are on a downward spiral, Avis made the decision to market the fact that they weren’t the dominant leader. Avis launched an honest, open and believable campaign simply called “we try harder”.
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