Craft Beer, Design, Marketing, Things I love

Storytelling in 3 videos

I’ve been thinking about storytelling lately. More specifically, I’ve been thinking about how the company I work for might be able to better tell stories.

So I started researching into how other industries and brands tell their stories. The following three videos are all ones I’ve found this week. Each with very different narratives but each one contains the key elements of a great story: a setting, a plot, a conflict and a resolution.

The Contenders

I’ve talked about Dicks Sporting Goods before.

Drink Better Beer – Matt Lane

This is a fantastic story about how BeerBods came to be. Very funny, very honest.

A film about Vitra

I recently treated myself to an Eames DSW chair for my home office. I love the mixture of history, ethos and tone in this video. I now feel part fo the club. Not part of the furniture, that wouldn’t be very Vitra I don’t think.

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7 of my favourite Podcasts.

In 2015, I’ve really up my consumption of Podcasts. I’ve been listening to Podcasts since about 2005, however it’s only in the last 12 months that I’ve really opened up to the wide variety. There are some that I listen to once or twice then unsubscribe and there are some that I religiously consume and there are those that I save for specific activities such as running.

 

Listed below are the ones I’ve really enjoyed in 2015.

 

If I recall this was the first podcast I ever subscribed too and have been a huge fan ever since. The Beebs flagship film programme, its the benchmark for great podcasting. I save it for the long weekend runs. Oh, and hello to Jason Isaacs.

 

I’ve been a huge fan of Adam and Joe for a very long time and the podcast of their 6music show still gets a fair bit of airtime in our house. It was therefore only natural that I’d immediately take a liking to Adam’s self-styled ‘Chatramble’. The latest edition with Louis Theroux is one of the funniest podcasts I’ve heard this year.

 

One of the longer podcasts I listen too, with most posting over two hours, Tim Ferris does an excellent job of diving into the interviewee. What I like about them is that they are all very relaxed and he’s clearly got an excellent understanding of the interview technique. He just let’s it flow.

 

I should listen to this more often and another one that I save for long runs. The recent episode ‘Status Update’ is a fascinating insight into how we perceive our own status.

 

I’m a relative newcomer to Answer Me This. The public submit questions, the hosts answer it. A very simple premise, excellent entertainment.

 

At 20 minutes long this fills the time it takes for me to walk from London Bridge to my office. It offers a really quick insight into whats happening in marketing each week. I just wish they would change their title music.

 

I’ve been looking for a decent rugby podcast for ages and was recommended this one during this year’s rugby world cup. It doesn’t take itself too seriously which is where I think other rugby podcasts let themselves down.

 

By and large, I’ll listen to each of the above every week, the list below are the ones I dip in and out of but should probably listen to more often:

 

 

Are there any podcasts not featured here that you think I should be listening to in 2016?

 

Photo Credit: Rusty Sheriff via Compfight cc

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Things I loved in September 2015

A couple of things I found and loved in September 2015:

Articles

A Short lesson in Perspective by Linds Redding: If you only pay attention to one thing in this post then make it this one.

Let Me Work, Please: A Case for Fewer & More Productive Meetings

Evolving the Google identity

25 ways to ask your kids so how was school today without asking them so how was school today

The selling of the Krays: how two mediocre criminals created their own legends

Podcasts

The Adam Buxton Podcast

Music

Houndstooth – No News from Home

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Work life

I passed the Google Analytics IQ Test

At the start of the year I set myself the goal of improving my understanding and working knowledge of google analytics and I specifically set the goal of passing the Google Analytics IQ (GAIQ) exam by the close of April 2015.

This was in part due to a growing reliance on the platform for monitoring and reporting as part of the day to day responsibilities of the team. It was also in response to me recognising that I didn’t know the platform as well as I needed to. Furthermore, it is also something I want my team to undertake as part of their career development, so I was happy to be the guinea pig.

So whilst I didn’t pass it before April, I did pass it.

Google Analytics IQ Certificate

Google Analytics IQ (GAIQ) Certificate

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Marketing

Want to really know your customers? Just listen.

It’s not often someone who isn’t family, a friend or a postman knocks on our door. On this occasion it was the local representative of the Green Party. In the run up to this years General Election he wanted to know how I felt about local issues, the council and so forth. Now, this doesn’t happen very often, I can count on three fingers the number of times a member of a political party has knocked on our door in the 7 years I’ve lived in Brighton. To be honest, he put me on the spot. I haven’t really given a great deal of thought to the political climate of late, let alone local government issues. Nevertheless, here was someone from a major political party on my doorstep interested in what I have got say. Some quick thinking provided him with some feedback on refuse, recycling, free schools and rail fares for commuters. I then wished him luck and he moved on to the next house. 

Two weeks later I received a letter from Caroline Lucas MP addressing each of the issues I’d raised. I was, and am impressed. Someone actually listened. A couple of friends quipped how its probably a template, and it could be. It might be that a lot of people and potential voters in my area raised the same issues. But that doesn’t concern me. It was written to me addressing issues I’d raised. And from what I can tell it’s a genuine, hand-written signature. Template or not, effort went into compiling the letter, signing it off and posting it. And that’s what matters. That’s what makes a difference. 
 
The best bit was that this party member wasn’t there to sell me The Green Party, he was there to listen. Only by listening can he understand the issues. Only by listening can he begin to learn what makes his voting audience click. I don’t expect him to have the answers there and then. And to be honest I wasnt even expecting a response. But I do expect him to listen. 
 
As marketers, what can we learn from this?
 
1. Listen more, sell less. 
By listening you are in part selling. You’re selling a human quality that too often gets overlooked. As Stephen Covey pointed out “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” So as marketers, we can learn a lot by simply shutting up and hearing what our customer has to say. And I do mean that in the literal sense. 
 
2. Make listening part of your marketing programme
As modern marketers we are spoilt for choice.  Hashtags and keywords can tell us lot about what’s being said online and the sentiment thereof towards a brand or service. Survey tools like Survey Monkey mean that we can execute surveys in minutes and get responses in hours.
However, I don’t think there is a genuine substitute to replace face to face time with customers. There are many ways to do this from the relatively easy phone call and meet up at a mutually beneficial conference to the more-challenging customer days and advisory boards. In my experience the activities that have included a face to face discussion have been the most rewarding.  You can even add it into your annual KPI’s to meet a customer every three months by joining a sales meeting or simply picking up the phone for a check in.
 
3. Take Action
You’ve listened. Now you need to digest and action, where applicable. For example, to support a Customer Advisory Board programme, you can create an internal support team comprising of key functional heads who are responsible for the investigation, resolution and delivery of the various outputs that would be generated from the CAB. You can then communicate progress on a quarterly basis with the members of the CAB via a conference call and a follow up newsletter.  
 
A clue in understanding the power of listening is that you have two ears and one mouth. Heed that ratio. As B2B marketers we’ve never had it better but we still have many things to learn and improve on. If a political party can get it right, then so can we.
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Things I love

Things I loved in 2014.

A simple list of some of the things I enjoyed in 2014:

Albums

If i had to pick a top 5 is would most probably be these:

Jane Weaver – The Silver Globe
Hyde and Beast – Keep Moving
Beck – Morning Phase
Teleman – Breakfast
The Dowling Poole – Bleak Strategies

Honourable mentions to: Burial, Angel Olsen, Sharron Van Etten, Clark, Francois & the Atlas Mountains and Mogwai

Gigs

Shamefully, I only got to one. Kurt Vile in Brighton. Which was excellent, if a little stripped back. I did get tickets to two other gigs. However, Francois and the Atlas Mountains got cancelled and we clean forgot about Teleman (still kicking myself about this).

Movies

With out doubt Interstellar is my film of 2014. I simply loved it. The driving away scene is one of the best pieces of cinema I’ve seen for a long while. Wonderful.

Grand Budapest Hotel, Boyhood, Guardians  of the Galaxy, Pride and Paddington are the honourable mentions. I should also add Godzilla, purely for the Halo Skydive scene.

Podcasts

Serial is the podcast of 2014. A factual whodunnit detective story. The Kermode/Mayo Wittertainment podacst was still excellent in 2014 and it’s the first podcast I listen to each week. Honorourable mentions should also go to Six Pixels of Separation, Marketing over Coffee and a relative newcomer, to me at least, Slate’s Working.

Longform articles

I have a huge backlog on my Kindle. However, the three listed below are the ones that immediately spring to mind:

Longform have compiled their best of 2014 list if you want more of the same.

Books.

I targeted myself with reading 24 books in 2014. I managed 14. None of which were published in 2014. However, I really enjoyed The Black Cloud by Fred Hoyle, Predatory Thinking by Dave Trott and Galveston by Nick Pizzolatto was a great accompaniment to True Detective.

Gadgets

Sonos: It’s everything I expected it would be. The only real drawback is that I think the Sonos contoller app on both iPhone and Android is very poor. No Spotify Radio? C’mon.

Gramofon: my first kickstarter. It’s a great piece of kit. Whilst it’s now largely obsolete thanks to Sonos, it’s smaller than the Sonos which means it will travel well and I suspect it will accompany us on holidays.

Chromecast: Makes your TV smart. Makes your smart TV even smarter. And the kids can use it. Love it.

Grid-it: Phones, pens, chargers, security keys and even chewing gum all held in place by interwoven elastic straps. It’s the simple things that make the difference.

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