Posted by Ned Colville on July 31, 2009
1. “If you don’t know where you’re going, every road will take you there.” (Arnaldo Hax)
2. “You’ve got to think about the big things whilst you’re doing the small things, so that the small things go in the right direction.” (Alvin Toffler)
3. “If you cry ”Forward” you must be sure to make clear the direction in which to go. If you fail to do that and simply call out the word to a monk and a revolutionary, they will go in precisely opposite directions.” (Anton Chekhov)
4. “You can’t row a boat in two directions at the same time.” (Anon)
5. “The road of life twists and turns and no two directions are ever the same. Yet our lessons come from the journey, not the destination.” (Don Williams)
Borrowed with pride from all over the place.
Posted by Anne-Cecile Bertrand on July 31, 2009
Yet again we have had the honour to contribute to a set of articles published in The Grocer in the last couple of weeks.
Alex Waters, director of Capabilities, comments in last week’s article “Can new campaign resolve the binge drinking problem?” written by Nicolette Allan and Richard Ford (25th July 2009). The article discusses whether the latest campaign against binge drinking (which will favour subtle persuasion over scare tactics) will work. For an extract of what Alex has to say please see below and the full article can be found on The Grocer’s website.
The week before, our director of Closeness, Anna Eggleton, comments in an article written by James Ball entitled “Clear Skies for Brands; Heavy Clouds for Own Label” (18th July 2009) discussing the performance of the 150 top UK’s food and drink manufacturers in the current economic climate. The piece examines which companies are rising to the challenge – versus own label and smaller branded companies that are struggling. Anna advices that middling brands have to out-think their bigger rivals, as they can’t outspend them. She adds that planning a riskier but well-targeted campaign is better than spreading a small pot of money thinly. Please find Anna’s full comments below, and for the entire article please click here.
And all good things come in threes: Richard Oldham, director of Innovation comments in the article “It’s not for men” written by Nicolette Allen on 27th of July. Nicolette questions brands such as beer and pizza, that have traditionally been the preserve of men, being targeted at women. Please see Richard’s thoughts below – the complete article can be found here.
Posted by Theo John on July 30, 2009
This week’s Design Blog is about the work of Alan Clarke, as featured in the July edition of Creative Review.
I was very impressed with this work , particularly in the clever way in which each poster managed to communicate its message powerfully through the intelligent use of space, simple graphic shapes and low key yet intelligently placed type.
On his website Alan Clarke states that, “The designs focused on the movement and speed of the athletes equipment. They were used to help travelers associate relevant tube stops with the Olympic events that are being held there”.
This is just as well, as I feel that each poster works best when displayed on its own; thus avoiding any conflict between the colours (which are not only vibrant contemporary in feel but are also cleverly chosen to associate with the sport in question).
The power in these posters are in their simplicity and clever use of shapes which convey a subliminal feeling of movement and energy. Further clarification is given by the name of the sporting event displayed in the top right hand corner and the well known Olympic rings in the top left corner of each poster.
Alan also states, “I have come to believe in clear, considered, communication solutions, simplicity and great ideas”. In my opinion he has achieved this with elegance and great composition in these striking posters (which won Best in Show at this years D&AD New Blood exhibition).
Well done to Alan – and great to see the Olympian brand being interpreted in a distinctly London style.
Posted by Gavin Galloway on July 30, 2009
After looking at three recessions (1974-75, 1980-81 and 1991-92), there are a number of important lessons that we can draw.
1. The effect of recession on most markets is typically fairly short; the short term imperative is survival
2. The longer term imperative is to plan for the “new” (post recession) market. The baseline assumption is for a continuation of pre-recession market development: typically towards increasing premiumisation and segmentation
Questions you should to ask to identify possible deviations from the baseline assumption:
- What is the likely nature of the recovery: vigorous or hesitant, with/without any “hangover” effects?
- How will the recovery be experienced by different groups within society; will there be “winners” and “losers”?
- Will government policy be consistent with pre-recession policy, or will there be a significant shift?
- What will the effects of the above be on public and private spending?
- Will any factors in the broader environment change significantly e.g. price/availability of raw materials; population migration; international trading framework?
- Will the thrust of underlying social attitudes and aspirations remain stable or will they change? Are there any signs of discontinuity in long term social trends?
- What are the most prominent developments in science and technology with potential for application over the next 5 years?
It is also worth analysing the current downturn as we have those previous. This recession also has its roots in problems with property and financial bubbles, and volatility on the oil markets, but was further exacerbated by the near collapse of financial system.
Initial indications of recessionary cycle suggest:
- Deep recession in 2009, with beginning of recovery in 2010
- Slow recovery thereafter as government debt has to be paid off and squeezes public and private spending
- Unemployment to rise towards the 3 million level
It is likely that the nature of recovery will be slow, hesitant, and constrained (closer to 1970’s than 1980’s/1990’s). The shape of post-recession Britain will be determined by responses across society, government and industry:
- Likely to be considerable variation of effects on different social groups, with the under-educated and under-skilled being increasingly disadvantaged
- Government will give greater emphasis on control/regulation; attempt to balance stability with dynamism
- Public and private spending will both be constrained; government policy will determine how the pain is spread across different income levels
- In the broader environment there will be a massive imperative for change, driven by depletion of energy reserves, global population growth and global warming; potential for conflict or co-operation within a shrinking globe
- The long term underlying social trends towards individual freedom and self expression that originated in the 1960’s have proved durable; expect them to continue
- Science and technology will be the most important dynamic force – continuing to evolve at an accelerating pace; the appliance of science to the major issues of resource depletion, population growth and global warming will be the defining feature of the post recession economy
- In terms of social attitudes, we should expect a pragmatic response from the UK public – knuckle down and get on with it – or in the words of a recently revived retro poster…
So with the benefit of hindsight, which businesses and brands are most likely to emerge as winners from any recession?
- Those who learn to work within a more regulated environment
- Those who deliver enhanced value to “cautious consumers” with less spare cash
- Those who operate in science-rich industries
- Those who find new ways to satisfy enduring consumer lifestyle aspirations
And in any recession who will be those who lose out? Those who focus exclusively on survival programs for the duration of the downturn and fail to look to the opportunities beyond…
Proving hopefully that whilst it’s always useful to look backwards, and forwards, we should never dwell too gloomily on the present!
Posted by Giles Lury on July 24, 2009
This weekend I bought a new product, nothing too surprising or earth shattering in that. It happened to be Innocent’s new Pure Fruit Squeezers – real fruit meets Petits Filous Frubes. They are an Innocent twist on something that already exists.
What it did make me think about was three adages of innovation and the truth in them all.
Firstly how ideas aren’t the only problem when it comes to innovation. Indeed sometimes having the ideas can be one of the easier and indeed more enjoyable parts of the whole process. If you have a clear vision for the brand, are being led by an agreed strategy and the overall process has a clear structure then you can often enjoy the discipline of a tight brief.
Secondly how there are different levels are types of innovation and not every innovation needs to be a radical breakthrough to be a success. In fact if you look at the origin of the word innovation; it has not one but two Latin roots – “innovare” and “novare”. “Innovare” means to alter or make better while “novare” means to make different or make new. So in fact innovation which is what so many of us marketers do more of time is probably correctly named, as we less frequently involved in the really radical “novation” projects. Both however are valid strategies for driving brand growth.
The third truism is how it is easier to go wrong than to go right. The Pure Fruit Squeezers were on a gondola end in my local Tesco and had a special introductory offer – which highlights at least four things that even if you have a great idea can go wrong – distribution, merchandising, trial (not to mention pricing and profitability). Then of course there is the product quality and delivery….
And the moral of the story? Well perhaps just that innovation isn’t easy…