Earlier in the week I got bored, very bored, watching Top Gear

December 23, 2009

This has never happened before, it was the first time. Top Gear is one of my all time favourite TV shows, so what’s going on?

The great thing about Top Gear was the transition from being a ‘car’ show; all about cars, to becoming an ‘entertainment’ show; using cars.

This was a brilliant concept and a very successful formula which made it into an exceptionally popular programme. It was never about appraising cars that the masses buy, that was left to 5th Gear and the others.

But now they are in the doldrums because the creativity has definitely gone AWOL and so too have probably the budgets for the stunts.

And even the new stunts lack edge, seem inappropriate with the mood of the times appearing either staged or stupid, or a combination of the two, rather than ‘cool’.

Sadly, the result is a fallback to what’s worked in the past, which is precisely why I think I’m becoming rather bored with part, if not all of the show. It has lost its way and the presenters have become caricatures of their own personalities.

And this is a great shame because it used to be my favourite programme and was cutting edge, for many years. But now, like the Sony Walkman, things have moved on and left it behind. It’s redundant and passed its sell by date.

And this is what happens when we get used to something and don’t keep it up to date. We become complacent, which is why it’s important to continually critique what we do, with fresh thinking.


Inspiration from Nelson Mandela

December 22, 2009

2009 has been a tough year for many of us, so here are a few words from the great man to inspire us all to achieve something special during 2010.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small doesn’t serve the world.
There’s nothing enlightening about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around us.
We were born to make manifest the Glory of God that is within us.
It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others”.

Nelson Mandela, 1994 inaugural speech

Beatles to Bowie exhibition

December 11, 2009

This is the 60’s exposed, a time when pop music and its associated pop culture played a crucial role in establishing the look and sounds of the era in Britain and the World.

This was the time of ‘The Stones’ versus ‘The Beatles’ with fans loyal to either, but rarely to both.

It was a time of musical optimism.  Anything could be achieved, no limits.  Bands arrived, went platinum and became global success stories.

And there was no internet, no email, no photocopiers no fax machine and a transatlantic phone call, costing £’s per minute had to be booked!

So with communications like this, just how was this achieved?

In my mind it was a combination of several qualities.

  • Raw talent, it was a time of great musicians
  • It was about networking in the truest sense, no bells and whistles
  • There was no right or wrong way.  Folk just got on with the job without today’s  analysis paralysis
  • It was unsophisticated, KISS
  • There was no pretence, because there was no way to fake anything
  • People believed it would happen, so it did.

These are all qualities as great today as they were then. 

And all this energy is captured in this fabulous exhibition of photographs in London’s National Portrait Gallery, running until 24 January 2010.

This exhibition is superb; from Bill Zygmant’s Bee Gees, to two marvellous Bailey portraits of the Rolling Stones.  Neither of which would have been heavily re-touched and both with that wonderfully creamy texture and depth that comes from using film.

This is the true art of photography pitched up against today’s science of the image.  There’s no cheating; nowhere to hide and it’s real – we can all learn from this.

Survey identifies sales challenge in East Anglia

December 7, 2009

We surveyed companies to find out why they attended last month’s Destination Growth conference at IWM Duxford. 

56% wanted to find solutions to changing customer buying patterns, 44% to find ways to overcome pricing sensitivity, nearly 24% to find ways around shorter sales lead times and 20% to ‘Add Value’ for customers. 

The survey mirrors what we have been finding for some time now.  To succeed, businesses need to look creatively at ways to build loyalty, market these initiatives to their customers and train their staff to embrace the changes required to use them to best effect. 

Destination Growth ‘09 was very well received with 74% of those surveyed saying that the event either met or exceeded their expectations.  Over 37% of attendees claimed that they took away three or more ‘Business Nuggets’ that provided insight to help them build their businesses.

To encourage delegates to enter the survey there was a prize draw to win a copy of Destination Growth’s keynote speaker Greg Dyke’s book, Inside Story.  The lucky winner was Roy Badcock (left) from Cambridge Building Society, receiving his prize from Jonathan Wainwright (right).

The Cambridge Building Society is an independent, mutual organisation which has been operating in Cambridge since 1850.  The head office and branches are all within a 20-mile radius of Cambridge. The Society has over 120,000 local members and assets exceeding £844 million.

A full copy of the survey is available from FCG Consultancy in Ely by contacting Jonathan Wainwright on 07971 006 446 or emailing jonathan@fcgconsultancy.co.uk.


What do customers expect from the email marketing they receive?

December 3, 2009

To stop your email from being deleted you really need to know, so ask regularly.  And having asked, act upon what they tell you!  These are my top ten customer needs, identified over the years, to help you start the process.

  1. Protect them – keep their data safe and don’t sell it on.
  2. Make them feel like you know them – start to build a picture about them by engaging in a two way communication process.
  3. Help them – make sure your content helps them save time, money or reduces activity that frustrates them.
  4. Promise them – be very clear about what you say and always live up to the expectations you set, whether that be content of the communication or quality of your products or services.
  5. Make it easy for them to respond – whether that’s to forward, unsubscribe, purchase, reply or block.  Don’t lead them on a wild goose chase clicking through numerous web pages, keep it succinct.
  6. Educate them – tell them something relevant and interesting that they don’t already know, but may appreciate.  A little learning in a ‘sound bite’ always goes down well.
  7. Grab their attention – the subject line must persuade them to open the email, this is an absolute must.
  8. Ask them – if you want to change the frequency or content and get their permission, this will help build a trusting relationship.
  9. Give them options – let them choose what they want to receive from you rather than taking a one size fits all approach.
  10. Free them – make it easy for them to change the information content they receive from you or to unsubscribe if that’s what they want to do.

Follow these ten top tips, build your list and watch your sales grow.