Wednesday, 23 July 2014


So many brands and companies want to do advertising like Coke, Red Bull or Oreo's but so many of them forget about considering who their customer is and what relationship they have with them. It is easy to implement innovative and "out there" campaigns like some of these brands but one must first consider if it is relevant to your target audience. Why does a customer have a relationship with you in the first place? How do you influence or play a role in their lives?

These are fundamental questions one must first ask otherwise your campaigns will never be a success. For example: If you were an ITC (Information Technology Communication) company and you offered converged product solutions to small businesses, if your ADSL line suddenly went down you would have a fundamental impact on your customers.

A small business owner would suddenly be left stranded without internet connectivity, this could effect their credit card machines, they wouldn't be able to send or receive emails and potentially lose business. Your relationship with the customer is very functional but also very emotional at the same time because you are suddenly effecting his business as well as his personal life.

If we take this same model and apply it to a brand like Coke, the relationship that a customer has with the brand is not very functional. Customers drink Coke because they enjoy the taste and it possibly quenches their thirst, if they go to a shop and find that they are out of Coke it is not going to result in the customer losing money or business. The brand connects with its customers on a more emotional level.

The problem comes in where brands want to do "funky" and "innovative" campaigns like Coke forgetting about why their customers have a relationship with them in the first place. At the end of the day, the business owner in the example above just wants an ADSL solution with good service and value for money.

This model will help ensure your marketing and campaign activities are aligned to your customers' needs and this will also help optimise your return on investment.

Always start with the customer.

Monday, 26 May 2014


If you haven't ever watched Gary speak then you should definitely watch this (apologies for the F-bombs, that's just how he rolls).
The Thank You Economy 

Originally, Gary Vaynerchuk wasn't on the schedule for SXSW 2014, so when I saw that he was the keynote speaker on the first day, I made sure that this was one talk I didn't miss. I have quoted Gary so many times over the years in so many social media strategies, he is all about "out-caring" one's competitors and truly listening to your audience and giving a damn.

His keynote was all about "How to rock SXSW", who better to give this advice than him, he is a big believer in start-ups and this was his 7th SXSW. Here are his top tips to make the most of SXSW

It was such an amazing experience being able to ask Gary a question and get an immediate response. I asked him: "@Garyvee #AskGaryVee very interesting to see you are wearing an #AirBnB top. They are going to revolutionise the hotel industry! Your thoughts?" and this was his response

He also spoke briefly about his new book "Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook - How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World", looking forward to reading it.

It was incredible to be able to meet Gary in person, he is an inspiration when it comes to the world of social media, he just gets it and it is mainly through his own experiences at

Gary's second book

Here are some great quotes from his second book "The Thank You Economy" this will give you a taste of Gary's opinion towards social media.

"A lot of companies resist building a Facebook wall, blogging, or starting a Twitter or YouTube account because an irate customer might post negative comments. So what? Would you prefer that the customer post them somewhere else where you have absolutely no way to reply? Or somewhere you can't even find? If you're that afraid of your customer, you might want to take a closer look at how you're doing business."

"If you are going to launch a campaign, it has to be one that evokes an emotion so that people feel compelled to share. Give them something to talk about, unleash the power of word of mouth, and allow them to pull you into their consciousness."??

"Develop creative work that allows the platforms to rally, to work together to extend your story, continue the conversation, and connect with your audience. It's not enough to simply throw a Twitter or Facebook logo at the bottom of your ad, or show at the end of your TV commercial. That's about as exciting and useful as saying "We have a phone!" or "Found in most stores!"

"In the future, the companies with tremendous "relationship capital" will be the ones to succeed. Society is creating an ecosystem that rewards good manners, high touch, honesty, and integrity. Ten years from now, every company will have a Chief Culture Officer on staff and, if big enough, a team dedicated to scaling one-on-one relationships."

Essentially, companies just need to start caring and work towards becoming a truly consumer centric business. At the end of the day, customers just want to know that you care and that you are listening. Without customers, there would be no business.

"There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everyone from the chairman down, simply by spending his money somewhere else." - Sam Walton, 1977.

Saturday, 24 May 2014


Austin Kleon is the author of two influential and best-selling books: "Steal Like An Artist" and "Newspaper Blackout". His third book, "Show Your Work!", was published in March 2014. He was one of the keynote speakers at SXSW Interactive 2014.
Here is some context about his book "Steal Like An Artist" and his keynote. Back in 2005 he had a serious case of writer's block. So while he was sitting at his desk, without words, he looked down and noticed the rubbish bin that was full of old newspapers, with lots of words. 

He took out one of the papers and picked up his black marker that he uses for drawing and started putting blocks around the words that stood out to him and then started to connect these words to different phrases and funny sayings, and lastly he would black out all the words that he didn't need. 

Creative work

He started posting his creations on his blog and called them Newspaper Blackout poems and slowly over time they started to gain traction online. 

But then people started to get in contact with him to tell him that his work was un-original and that an artist by the name of Tom Phillips started drawing on pages in a similar way back in the 60's. This has been a life-long project for Tom that he has been doing for over 40 years. 

However after chatting to Tom Philips, Austin discovered that Tom got this project idea from reading a Paris Review interview with the writer William Burroughs who was talking about his cut-up method of writing. 

After researching further, Austin discovered that William Burroughs got his idea for the cut-up method from his friend Brion Gysin who was a painter and one day when cutting a canvas he accidentally cut through a pile of newspapers. The way the newspaper cuttings could be strung together gave him the idea of a different way to write poetry. 

But Austin didn't stop there, he went on to do some more research and discovered that 30 years before that there was a poet named Tristan Tzara who got on stage with a hat and a newspaper and would then proceed to cut up the newspaper and put the pieces in the hat and then start pulling out the pieces one by one to form a poem.

Austin traced this concept all the way back to 1734 where a guy by the name of Caleb Whitefoord used to read the newspapers across the columns versus reading from top to bottom. He would get these funny combinations of phrases that he would share with his friends and then he went on to publish a broadsheet of them. 

No original idea

Now this may seem like a lot of useless information, however this sets the scene for Austin's topic "how to steal like an artist". Essentially after doing this research he traced the concept of writing poetry from newspapers back 250 years before he posted his first Blackout Poem. 

This just goes to show that there is nothing that is completely original, all creative works builds on what came before or is a remix of previous ideas. 

A quote from Steve Jobs: "Good artists copy, great artists steal."

During Austin's keynote at SXSW Interactive 2014 he spoke about a concept called "Scenius". Scenius essentially means that creativity doesn't happen in a vacuum, a great concept comes from a scene of different people and bright minds. It is a collaborative effort even though some of the individuals indirectly involved in the process might not even know that they have contributed. 

Sharing great work

Austin went on to explain how SXSW is essentially one huge Scenius setup, lots of innovative, entrepreneurial great minds, sharing in one place. We need to move away from being "hoarders of great ideas and work" we need to share great work that we love. If we do this we will eventually meet the people who love the work you share and those that create the work that you love. 

Always give credit, this allows others to dig deeper and find out more and hopefully continue to evolve the "work". 

Austin's keynote resonated with me because I have often thought there is no new idea or concept and that's just it, you don't have to come up with the "next big thing", you just have to find something that you love and then start "stealing like an artist".

You can find out more about Austin Kleon here: