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The sunshine is dimming

Piano maker Kemble & Co is closing after nearly 100 years producing over 350,000 pianos. They were the UK’s last large scale piano manufacturer. It’s a reflection of yesteryear when a piano was a central asset in the home. Mum and dad would teach their kids the odd tune in the hope of lighting their […]

First impressions

Most people think the saying ‘first impressions count’ is all about clothes or hair. They’re wrong (to a degree). It’s more about attitude than anything else. How you carry yourself when you enter the room; how you interact in the opening few seconds; your handshake; your eye contact; your confidence. It’s the X Factor test. […]

Eat my lunch

All businesses want to control their own destiny. Surely, it’s natural. The old-fashioned classic is to cut out the middleman and access the wallet yourself. After all, why go to the trouble of producing a wonderful product, only to pray fickle retailers buy into it and run the gauntlet of the supply chain? It’s sorely […]

4 principles of site design

A while ago, I had the pleasure of listening to Google’s Robert Swerling talk saliently about site design. The brief version of his presentation: Velocity – give it fast and let them get on with other things Visibility – don’t surprise consumers Value – provide real value Variation – never come out of beta (love […]

Biscuit marketing

Complacent and lazy marketers know people like to follow the crowd. There’s safety in numbers, right? They play this card as often as possible with their marketing messages. The company mindset can be, ‘Why do we need to do any better when product X sells just fine?’ It strikes me that the banking and motor […]

Drive-throughs break out

My local Greggs’ bakery is a massively busy shop. So much so its small car park is log jammed from 11am to 3pm EVERY day. From day one I said they could have designed a drive-through system and probably made themselves even more successful (and certainly more efficient). Well, it seems fast food won’t have […]

Let down gently

Your supplier is very busy. You know this because you chased your order and were told so with plenty of excuses and apologies. I’ve always subscribed to the theory that if a customer phones you for an update on completion, you’ve failed. Not in a ‘call the administrators sense,’ but in a service world, the […]

Ramsay screams success

A business is an organic entity. Most stakeholders would wish their company to ‘grow’ but it can be ‘starved’ of orders, ‘bleed’ cash and ‘haemorrhage’ profits. Yet the biggest indicator of its living matter is the fact that people make a company (well, certainly the vast majority). The attitude of staff is the telling piece […]

At Sir Alan’s behest

Here’s your Apprentice moment: If you had a fruit stall in a town centre market, and assuming your stock had a one day shelf life, toward the close of business, would you: a) behave exactly as you did at 8am and bin all left over product each day; b) slash prices hours before closing to […]

Buck the trend

I’m sure you’ve heard the world economy is broken. With so much reporting of the negative it’s easy to obliterate the positives. Here’s a couple of diamonds in the rough for you though: – Apple finished their fiscal fourth quarter (to 27th Sept) with sales up 35%. All the numbers have gone north which is […]

Has a whale landed on you?

There’s a lovely corner shop in my village. It’s completely typical, run by an Indian family where nana holds the night shift ‘till 10pm. It’s an extremely well run family business where the profits have gone back into structural renovations. You couldn’t buy a pack of mints from a more spotless mini supermarket. But Tesco […]

Chartered Marketing’s oxymoron

I recently attended the Chartered Institute of Marketing event, ‘Communication for profitable customer relationships.’ I wasn’t going to post about it, but the best speaker of the day (Dr Neil Hair) blogged about it and I wanted to join him. The day’s speakers were good, although Prof. Ballantyne from New Zealand was probably too academic […]

Recession-proof is work of Hollywood

Heard anyone talking (bragging?) lately that her industry is recession resistant? It seems the DVD business is just that according to DreamWorks CEO, Jeffrey Katzenberg. Chocolate and cycling are seeing the same anecdotal sentiment as the crunching of credit gets ever louder. But, just like the man, no business is an island. It needs a […]

Fake becomes fashionable

The Royal Mint said last week that one in 50 pound coins you come across could be fake. This really hit home that bogus goods are seeping into everyday consumerism. Earlier this year Channel 4’s Dispatches programme reported that companies are losing a fortune in revenue and brand credibility to counterfeiters. Much of the goods […]

Don’t lift the bar, teleport it

F1 fans will know the popular mantra well-used across the sport, ‘If you’re not going forwards, you’re actually going backwards.’ It speaks volumes for everyone’s permanent devotion to improving through innovation (and invention of course). You see, over the course of a season teams will gain a handful of seconds per lap. Therefore, if you’re […]