Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Are all these business going under just inevitable?

Morgan has just filed for administration in the UK. They join a long list of companies going under, now I now we're in a recession but don't you get the feeling that a lot of these were inevitable? Woolworths have been going down hill for a long time, Zavvi had a bad business model since they bought it, why do you think Branson sold it?

The time has come to pass when the public will no longer stand for companies wearing the "Emperors New Clothes". The outcome is that weak businesses will go under and the recession is just a convenient cover for a badly run company. Its going to hurt, but the horse has already bolted and tidying up the pile of shit left behind is only good for the roses.

Don't be good in 2009 - be great!

Being good isn't enough. When someone asks you how you are what do you say? Stock answer is "alright" or "ok". How does that make the other person feel? Are they energised? Probably not, but then neither are you. If you say you're great and have a big smile, then they'll feel surprised at first and then feel really good, its a natural reaction to an answer like that and the smile tops it off. Only an android could fail to smile back.

Being great is much better all round than being ok. How do you feel after an ok sleep? Still tired. An ok meal? Still hungry. So why not be great?

I'm not sating that just thinking that will make you a genius but genius starts somewhere. Their minds are clear of all the crap that pulls them down so they can work on being great. Their failures spur them on to get stuff right. Over on Seth's Blog he sums this up better than I ever could.

So for 2009 don't be good - be great!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Marketing Lomography

As I've ranted about on here before, I love my Lomo camera. The way the lens gives an odd light and that no two are alike makes amazing shots. The camera I have the SuperSampler also has the disadvantage of not having a view finder. Add to that that they use 35mm film and you have a little issue. Namely that you have no idea what you have until you collect your prints. It's this very fact that makes me love the little thing. Its also what has made Lomography a worldwide cult.

The images the camera makes are so individual that they make ideal shots for marketing and advertising. The issue is that there can be no standardisation, no given quality. What's needed from a client or agency is a lot of good will that the images will not be highly technical or even pin sharp or even that the images once shot will even come out. What does ensue though is great, no amazing pictures.

I'm going to make it a personal mission if mine in 2009 to get Lomography more widely used, even if it's just by me.

If you've no idea what I'm taking about then take a look at the Lomography website you'll be amazed. Once you've seen what can be achieved you'll want to try it yourself I'm sure.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

My list of the 8 best things in 2008

As a last post of 2008 I thought I'd list the best things to happen to me in 2008. Yes its self indulgent but this my blog!
  1. My children.
    Obvious I know but as any dad will tell you they are the most important thing in the world. I'm so proud of the way they are becoming amazing people in their own right. I'm very lucky indeed. I can state for a fact that this will be number one in the list until I die.

  2. My friends.
    I only have a few good friends, they know who they are. Friends are the most important people in your life. You'll only ever get a few really really good ones make sure you cherish them. It'll pay off for your whole life.

  3. My cameras.
    This year I've become obsessed with my cameras, I've a standard compact digital which goes everywhere with me. But my cherished camera is my Lomo Super Sampler. I love this little camera with its weird lens and the four pictures it takes at once. If you don't own a Lomo Camera them buy one now, your life will be enhanced I promise.

  4. Glastonbury Festival
    This year was the first time I've been in 13 years and Glastonbury didn't disappoint. It was bigger, weirder and more amazing than I could have imagined. Got my ticket for 2009 already. Hey if there are any left get them booked!

  5. BBC Radio Four
    Never, ever thought I'd find myself listening to this! But radio four has opened up my mind. I know find it impossible to drive to work without listening to the Today Show. OK some of the comedy is a bit ropey sometimes and I still can't listen to the Archers. But nothing is perfect.

  6. Mark Radcliffe and Stuart Maconie on Radio 2
    Driving home up the M1 is made into a joy listening to these professional northerners rattle on seemingly to themselves. Their knowledge of music old and new is amazing but they aren't condescending at all. The whole show feels like you've just nipped down to the pub with a few mates and the pub happens to have the best jukebox ever.
  7. QI
    Stephen Fry and QI are a match made in heaven I can watch this programme forever and never ever be bored. The title Quite Interesting actually undersells the show, its the most interesting programme you'll ever see.
  8. The Book of Dave by Will Self
    Completely bewildering in parts but still utter genius. Taking a while to get through it but I can't put it down. Buy it and be bewildered today.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Are printed directories dead?

It's a long tradition I know but is there really any need for printed directories? I mean as soon as they are printed they're out of date plus they cost an absolute fortune to print and distribute.

The main culprits, at least in the UK, are phone directories Yellow Pages and Thomson. Every year they print one for each house in the UK about an inch thick and rammed with as many number and ads as can be printed on the toilet roll paper they use.

And what happens to them? They go on a shelf and stay there for a whole year until the new edition arrives.

The main purpose of these directories is to give you access to numbers and services you need, mainly its Pizza/Curry/Chinese take-away restaurants, when you're drunk.

But stop just there, don't you like me get at least 4 menus shoved through your door each day. And not only do these have the contact numbers on they also have the whole menu. So no need to call up and guess what they can cook for you.

I'm sure there are advertisers who will say that directories work for them, they must they continue to use them. But for the vast majority of business they are next to useless.

In a time of recession being front of face and shouting that you're the best fit for a customer, and then delivering are vital. Do you think this can really be achieved from a page of loo role left on a shelf?

Monday, December 22, 2008

It's all about the added service

When times are tough like now do you remember the business that gave you an ok product but left you feeling a little let down and tell your friends about it? Or do you think of the companies who gave you that little bit extra and made you smile?

Even the smallest company can do a lot to ensure that their good deeds are passed on. Here's a small example of how a humble fish and chip shop could have left a great impression on my friend but instead left her really annoyed.

Feeling peckish she entered the local Fish and Chip shop, which by the way has a great reputation for good food, and sat at a vacant table. After sitting a while she was asked to move tables as they were expecting a lunchtime rush and as she was sat alone the tables wouldn't be used efficiently. A simple enough request. Just badly handled by the staff member making the request. Because as it turned out the rush never happened.

My friend ate her fish and chips and left, there was no apology for making her move for the phantom lunchtime rush, no free cup of tea, no extra slice of bread and butter, no voucher for her next visit, nothing other than a disgruntled ex-customer who may well have gone on to tell all her friends about the amazing way she's been treated in the Chip Shop.

But now what does that chip shop have? One less customer who's already started telling people about her experience. And each one of them will think twice before visiting that chippy again.

I guess the lesson is when times are tough turn up the service to 12. Empower your staff to go that extra mile because every customer counts now. There's no room for bad products or service anymore.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Who owns the right's to the image of Che Guevara?

I love the image of Che Guevara. Last night I wondered who owned the famous image? I'm no historian and only ever have a vague idea on things. I figured someone must own it.

We 10 minutes of digging on Wikipedia and there it all is. The guy who took the picture Alberto Korda, never registered it under copyright law so it falls under common use. Basically that means that if you want to use that image you can, no questions, no charges.

Does that support or go against Che's ideas? Surely freedom of speech and thought is what he was about. But this free usage means that it can be used for commercial means as well totally what he was against.

The V&A Museum declared it "the most reproduced image in the history of photography" it's been used for good and bad.

If only the copyright had been asserted maybe the use of Che's image could have helped the people he longed to free from poverty and oppression. But then again if there had been restrictions them maybe the image and ultimately his legacy wouldn't live on?

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Goodnight Oliver Postgate

It's with real sadness that I write this post about the death of Oliver Postgate who passed away yesterday.

Like a lot of people my age I grew up with his amazing stories and even more amazing rolling kind voice that lulled you into his magical world. His programmes touched an entire generation and I'd be surprised if we ever see a story teller as strong and witty as Oliver was.
Oliver surely goes into the annals of Animation greats along with Mel Blanc. Though his voice wasn't as varied in his own very British way he was every bit as magical.

Oliver Postgate RIP