Monthly Archives: May 2015

Role reversal

The review of the fox hunting ban has given rise to repeated use of the word “toffs” on social media in recent days. Curiousity led me to discover the origins of this word. A 100 years ago or so the well-heeled often used snuff which caused their noses to run with a toffee like substance. They held their heads high, and no doubt sniffed a lot, owing to this which earned them the description of “toffee-nosed” or “toffs”.

Has the gap between social classes widened or narrowed since Victorian times? Debatable. What is beyond doubt is that prejudice exists in both directions along the social scale and, like most prejudice, it is often unfounded. Stereotypes are just that.

I just read an account of a man who spent a day as a Big Issue seller on a street in Scotland. The treatment he received from most of the public was shameful. He was ignored and sworn at, even by people who worked with him in his normal role and failed to even recognise him as a person deserving respect, let alone as one of their colleagues.

Maybe it would help us all if we could step into the shoes of someone with a different life from time to time? In the meantime, let’s hope the new Government achieves its aim of improving standards for everyone.

No sales pitch today – bye for now.

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Irritating words and phrases – have you used any today?

The Telegraph published a list of the ten most irritating words and phrases a while ago:

1 – At the end of the day

2 – Fairly unique

3 – I personally

4 – At this moment in time

5 – With all due respect

6 – Absolutely

7 – It’s a nightmare

8 – Shouldn’t of

9 – 24/7

10 – It’s not rocket science

You can probably add your own pet squirmy phrases to this – one of mine is “out of the box” particularly when used by people in the creative sector. It’s just so…. in the box. Words and phrases come in and out of fashion and it’s odd how you notice the same ones popping up, sometimes in the course of just one day. My word of the day is “curated” and my phrase is “reaching out”. Curated was mentioned today in connection with a museum collection in an article I read and then, only an hour or so later I was reading about “curated commerce” in relation to driving selected content to consumers online.

The phrase “reaching out” was used in an email from a client today as in “I will be reaching out to you soon about…”. I then heard the same phrase on the morning news referring to the utilities companies who expect their customers to “reach out to them” when they cannot pay their bills. So much more emotive than saying “I will be in touch” or “I will contact you”, reaching out begs a sympathetic response – at least until we get fed up with hearing it.

I thought about these two concepts and how they apply to today’s business world. Business is in many ways less personal than it used to be. The sales funnel has been turned on its head as buyers are no longer limited to the choices that are set before them. As vendors, we really do need to curate our offers to make them relevant and we certainly need to reach out to our target customers in ways that will make them take notice.

This has always been the raison d’etre of marketing of course (sorry if you hate that phrase). Ever since the Henry Ford approach was abandoned and people demanded colours other than black, marketeers have been preaching about tailoring content and accurate targeting. But when you really start to think about the intelligence that is available to us now, you realise that we are only just starting to scratch the surface of what can be achieved.

Reach out to me on 07801251767 or We offer a whole long list of services as you’ll see on our website but we’ll be delighted to curate them to suit your particular needs.

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Don’t spread yourself too thin.

Not a strapline for a butter ad but a lesson we’ve had confirmed from our own strategy this year so far. When you’ve been in business for a quarter century as we have (I still find that hard to believe!), you gather a mass of data – contacts you have worked for, prospective clients, suppliers, etc, etc. We had an early Spring clean at the beginning of 2015 and decided to focus on 81 key clients and a handful of valued suppliers.

As firm advocates of Client Relationship Management thanks to our long lasting and ongoing relationship with CRM system developers Software Sculptors, we know that it is 8 times easier (and more cost effective) to gain business from clients who are already aware of you than by breaking new ground. And, as a small consultancy with clients spread throughout the UK, Europe and beyond, 81 clients with intermittent needs is a large enough number for us to look after, at least if we aim to do a thorough job.

Our strategy is therefore to take care of those who want to work with us and  to accept that we cannot, nor should we want to, win them all. This is already proving to be very effective as we take a more holistic approach to key relationships and turn away transactional business that is never very satisfying. Most businesses that continually search for new suppliers are focused mainly on price and, although customer loyalty is often said to be diminished these days, we still enjoy strong and honest relationships with a wide and varied client base.

Why not review your strategy for business acquisition? You may find that your new customers are in fact the ones you already have.

Funding is available for businesses needing strategic and operational input. Call me for details and eligibility criteria. 07801 251767 or email

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“I’ll know what I like when I see it.”

I love it when clients cannot tell us what they want. No really – why should they be able to? If they could, we wouldn’t be needed. On occasion our designers get so far with a project then the client says  that he is just not sure about the work we have done. This can happen with new clients, and particularly those who are new to buying marketing or design services, although a brief has been agreed at the outset.  It’s at that point that we stand back, discuss  the original brief in detail and then, if necessary, take a different approach.

The usual problem is that company owners and directors are so close to their businesses, and to the industries they operate in, that they cannot stand in the shoes of their buying public. It’s our role to do just that – to challenge the client and help him to understand exactly what he needs to convey in his marketing.

More often than not, the project comes full circle and the client becomes comfortable, and confident with the proposed work. If not, we view this as an investment in the relationship and provide alternatives. 

If you would like some input on your marketing material, feel free to call. 07801251767 or mail

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