Tag: marketing

Google: selling itself down the river

I had the privilege this week of attending a Google event in King’s Cross.

It was a good event and obviously great to hear first hand from Googlers what’s going on behind the scenes. But I came out with a worrying observation: much of what Google is developing at the moment appears not to have a business model. Or at least they didn’t present their new developments as having one.

I saw self-driving cars, new SERPs listing designs with semantic phrase-matching, handwriting recognition on tablets, profiles that sync activity across devices, and the now-infamous Google Glass (which the UK Googlers all said they had seen but didn’t own, which goes to show who Google really values).

These are all (relatively) valid problems that need solutions, and I’m aware that when you’ve got as much $$$ as the big G has, you don’t need to worry too much about ROI. But this was an event for media agencies and clients – in other words, advertisers. Representing an advertiser myself I only saw one thing that made me think, “oh I better start planning to advertise my brand that way…” And that was YouTube. Hardly news.

The much vaunted ‘end of advertising‘, partly being driven by Google’s own paid search focus on ‘navigation as advertising’ model swallowing up the budget for new models, is not being replaced by innovation from all of the ‘agency sales’ people Google now employs. I’m as against disruptive modes of advertising as the next man, but in the future should pull techniques be the only way to attract new customers? I think that might be a bit dull.

Making Meaning.

There is a special place in my brain that admires Seth Godin and his writing.

Today he’s done it again — and in the process eloquently explained the reasoning behind the name of my blog.

The brand is a story. But it’s a story about you, not about the brand.

Why prefer Coke over Pepsi or GE over Samsung or Ford over Chevy?

In markets that aren’t natural monopolies or where there are clear, agreed-upon metrics, how do we decide?

Yes, every brand has a story—that’s how it goes from being a logo and a name to a brand. The story includes expectations and history and promises and social cues and emotions. The story makes us say we “love Google” or “love Harley”… but what do we really love?

We love ourselves.

We love the memory we have of how that brand made us feel once. We love that it reminds us of our mom, or growing up, or our first kiss. We support a charity or a soccer team or a perfume because it gives us a chance to love something about ourselves.

We can’t easily explain this, even to ourselves. We can’t easily acknowledge the narcissism and the nostalgia that drives so many of the apparently rational decisions we make every day. But that doesn’t mean that they’re not at work.

More than ever, we express ourselves with what we buy and how we use what we buy. Extensions of our personality, totems of our selves, reminders of who we are or would like to be.

Great marketers don’t make stuff. They make meaning.


Brought to my attention via @bokardo

Marketing as a change agent (pt 3)

In the previous two posts in this series, I proposed that:

  • While it should rest with them, Marketing people are rarely effective at driving customer-driven change within their organisations.


  • Marketing people are often too busy arguing with Finance people justifying budgets and whatnot to get on with it.

The time has come for me not just to have a good old-fashioned rant, but to propose a solution. Or a way forward, at least.

Continue reading “Marketing as a change agent (pt 3)”

Marketing as a change agent (pt 1)

I went to a very interesting event in that there London last night at the incredibly swish Ogily offices in Cabot Square, Canary Wharf. I was there to see Matt Watkinson present some highlights from his new book Ten Principles behind Great Customer Experiences. He was accompanied by Rory Sutherland, the erudite Vice Chair of Ogilvy. Matt presented six of his ten principles, explaining what goes into great customer experiences, and how a company should think about creating them.

Continue reading “Marketing as a change agent (pt 1)”