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How Neruda let me be innovative

24 Jun

Last week I went to see a movie and there weren’t any super heroes in it.

Wait a second … there was a super hero but he didn’t have tights, a mask and a logo emblazoned on his muscular chest. No. This super hero was a middle aged, portly man with thinning hair. His super powers weren’t your usual mix but instead consisted of words and phrases and phrasing. The hero was a poet. The movie was Neruda. 

neruda_ver6

It was a beautiful film but not easy to follow. It was a portrait of a poet and a politician from Chile set in the 1950’s and it was a crime drama. Neruda was a member of the Communist Party (along with Pablo Picasso) who idealised communism as an ideal and an antidote to fascism. Of course these intellectuals were to be proved wrong when the walls went up but at the time it was about equality for all. When the government decreed that Neruda was to be arrested, he begrudgingly fled. The crime drama was the chase by a young detective who had his own back story.

neruda

Neruda performed his poems throughout the movie and that’s what opened the gates for me. During the movie, (which was subtitled), I listened to and read the words and i felt free. A lot of the poems were about love.

Neruda was romantic and seductive.

I’ve never been a great reader of poetry and to be honest it baffles me.

I just know that the words sometimes clash and when they do there’s a spark of freedom. Freedom opens the mind and can lead to innovative thoughts.

When was the last time you felt free?

The newer consumer decision journey

27 May

The consumer decision journey traditional

According to McKinsey, the way consumers purchase and the journey they travel to get to that purchase has changed. The traditional model (above) suggests that the process is fairly uncomplicated from awareness of a need > to familiarity with a range of solutions > to the consideration stage > next to purchase and finally loyalty (we hope.)

The consumer decision journey

The newer consumer decision journey model describes a more circuitous approach which fits with the digital age where research and comparison shopping is far easier and online reviews can make or break a product/brand. It also looks at buyer perception of brands which in itself is no new thing.

This old coke ad is all about building brand perceptions which they do nicely with their image – modern for it’s time.

old coke ad

To quote the authors ‘Our research showed that the proliferation of media and products requires marketers to find new ways to get their brands included in the initial-consideration set that consumers develop as they begin their decision journey. We also found that because of the shift away from one-way communication—from marketers to consumers — toward a two-way conversation, marketers need a more systematic way to satisfy customer demands and manage word-of-mouth.’ (+ online reviews.)

The research, according to the article, identified two different types of customer loyalty, challenging companies to reinvigorate their loyalty programs and the way they manage the customer experience. It also reinforced the importance of aligning all elements of marketing—strategy, spending, channel management, and message—with the journey that consumers undertake when they make purchasing decisions but also of integrating those elements across the organisation.

No more silos!

Source: McKinsey Quarterly

How to study

11 May

Recently my son had to study for up coming exams. I realised that he didn’t know where to start. So I put together this simple and practical infographic.

Great thingsto do with just

Pioneers of Digital Influence

13 Apr

The Smart Set

The Smart Set was a magazine that was founded in 1900 for and about New York’s social elite, The magazine evolved into an expression of popular modernism and it’s heyday went from 1913 through 1922.

It had a literary side publishing some of the best authors of the day (including Joyce and Conrad) and gave F. Scott Fitzgerald (The Great Gatsby) his start.

Subtitled “A Magazine of Cleverness” The Smart Set never gave up its aim to entertain, to win a large audience, and to make money through advertising.

Thoroughly modern

The magazine covers (see above) are images depicting modern women. The flappers and ‘it’ girls who made the news and social pages of the day through there ‘shocking’ displays that went against the moral norms of the day. They smoked and drank and used colourful language. In that way they were liberated some might argue. But that’s not the point.

Digital influencers and advertising dollars

These were the pioneers of today’s online digital influencers who garner huge crowds of followers just by posting a pic or a little message on their instagram pages. They are trend setters (sometimes) or trend followers but they have built a brand image around themselves by understanding what their ‘tribe’ want, need and often just aspire to.

And when they attract large numbers of followers, that translates into advertising dollars.

So things haven’t changed that much – just the mediums.

and the hipsters just look like Ned Kelly.

Marketing and Mindfulness

24 Nov

marketing-and-mindfulness

There’s a revolution going on not just in politics but in other areas.

An interesting article from B&T about the new consumers who value sustainability, health and well being above therapy shopping.

http://www.bandt.com.au/marketing/marketing-mindfulness-future-holds

We need to listen to our customers.

The revolution says goodbye to Henry Ford?

6 Nov

There’s no doubt about it – there’s a revolution going on which is affecting politics globally (see Brexit and the rise of Trump) and the way we live and will live in the future.

This revolution has been driven by technology and the internet which is not new news. However when you read an article like this one from the head of George Soros’ economic think thank the Institute for New Economic Thinking and ex boss of the UK’s former financial watchdog the Financial Service Authority it does give one pause to think.

The world of work and jobs is changing.

The tech breakthrough companies generate huge wealth but fewer jobs.

Work has gone part time with “British economist Guy Standing argues that most of the people who work on these types of platforms are part of what he terms the “precariat” — low-paid workers with precarious job security.

lord

http://www.businessinsider.com.au/lord-adair-turner-tech-capitalism-wages-inequality-precariat-2016-11?r=US&IR=T

Donald Trump and the Shoulds

11 Sep

“The upheaval of our world and the upheaval in consciousness is one and the same. Everything becomes relative and therefore doubtful. And while man, hesitant and questioning, contemplates… his spirit yearns for an answer that will allay the turmoil of doubt and uncertainty.”

So wrote Carl Jung, Swiss psychiatrist and psychotherapist who founded analytical psychology. Jung was also interested in and influenced by philosophy, sociology, religion and spirituality.

carl-jungI

Trump, Kanye and Kimye and the blur between reality and reality TV 

We are all living in a period of great uncertainty where our politicians and the major parties are no longer trusted (see the political rise of showmen like Donald Trump in the US and our own One Nation’s resurge.) The problems of globalisation, immigration, warfare and refugees, economic cycles, ageing populations, industry and technology and of course climate change have rendered us all into a state of unknowingness and sometimes fear. Trump and his often unstructured and simplistic rants wouldn’t have made it to second base in past US Presidential campaigns let alone get endorsed by the conservative Republican party if he wasn’t striking a chord with alienated, scared voters who no longer trust their politicians.

Trump is also a reality TV star so maybe Kanye and Kimye could be future Commander in Chief and his first lady. This says a lot about the pre-occupation with celebrity and branding. It’s more fun hanging out in billionaires mansions than listening to men in suits talking about fiscal policy + we get to live their lives vicariously (and escape our own) for an hour a week.

As human beings, we crave certainty around our lives as this gives us control. 

In reality there is no certainty much less control. We can be comfortably off and get sick. We can be employed and lose a job through no fault of our own. Our bread winning industry can go off-shore. In a lot of ways, life is random and full of paradoxes.

It’s hard to live this way but there is no choice and often pain and hardship open doors that were not visible through the haze of contentment.

The shoulds

Many years ago I was introduced to ‘The shoulds.’ It goes like this:

We should have a job and do well. We should be happy in our personal lives and have rich and fulfilling relationships. We should always do the right thing and not make mistakes.

Shoulds also relate to others in our lives:

Friends should be true and stick by you.

Family should be there for you.

Managers and employers should recognise you for your work and enthusiasm.

Shoulds let us down and make us naive.

Let go of the shoulds both for yourself and others in your life.

Be open to change because it’s rapid nowadays.

Instead enrich yourself with learning, creating and thinking outside of yourself.

BIRDMAN … life, hope and don’t box me in

28 Feb

birdman

Have you seen Birdman? You probably have. Some people loved it. Some people didn’t. For me it was amazing from the first scene of levitation to the last which I won’t mention.

Why was it amazing to me?

Because it was all of life. Triumph, sadness, struggle, confusion > the journey from limitless dreams to the fight to stay relevant.

What an inspired piece of casting. Michael Keaton. Is it his story? Could be. His journey shows in his performance – he’s grown up and from glib and smart arse he has depth and gravitas like the lines on his face and his receding hairline.

Then the story within the story > putting on a Broadway play around a Raymond Carver story … the things we talk about when we talk about love.

“A man can go along obeying all the rules and then it don’t matter a damn anymore.”

Raymond Carver, the genius short story writer. The greatest along with Arthur Miller ‘Death of a Salesman’ and Ernest Hemingway until he got corny. Fighting to stay relevant.

But in that fight is life. The struggle is noble even when it doesn’t work. There’s something beautiful about it.

Old doesn’t mean old anymore. Somethings changed.

What am I talking about?

Everything’s changed. If Willy Loman were around today …

Always merry and bright

24 Jan

Henry Miller

Henry Miller is a hero of mine ever since I read a biography of him ‘Always Merry and Bright.’

An original voice and a trail blazer, he was known for breaking with existing literary forms. An author of over 60 books including The Tropic of Cancer, his writing remains powerful and brave. He left New York to go to Paris in 1930 to follow his dream of becoming a writer and to mix with other artists. What he found was struggle and poverty. To overcome this he asked all his friends to send him $1 a day. An early crowd funder.

What I love about Henry was that he was delighted with life including all the troubles and travails. He kept on at his art even when he was criticised and his books were banned.

Being always merry and bright is a mindset. It’s a way of looking at things from a distance.

Seeing as work takes up a large percentage of our lives, this is more than important – it’s a necessity.

Managers should never stop people being happy at work. Happy is a key to productivity and makes way for open thinking and creativity … something business always seems to strive for.

A tough micro managed environment leads to a loss of motivation.

There’s no happiness.

You can sense a creative environment and you don’t need special spaces with pool tables and signs on the wall.

You just need the right leaders. They create the environment.

Working with Gen wotever

30 Aug

dobell

Quite recently I have had the privilege of working with a team of Gen Y’s. I think that’s their gen name (as opposed to genome) anyway. Their a bit older than Charles Lloyd Jones in this William Dobell portrait. They’re younger than me anyway. 

We have been working on a huge and creative project – something I couldn’t do on my own. These gens have been working with me and I have been managing them and their output. 

And yes … it’s true, they do work differently. They are definitely not your old time bank clerk types. They have different clocks and they can drift off but never too far.

What I have enjoyed is telling them stuff. It’s creative and we do a lot of writing. I tell them about The Confederacy of Dunces and the Catcher in the Rye. About original writers who also wrote and thought about freedom and how it dwells in the mind a lot of the time.

I give them tasks and I check up on them with a ‘how’s it going?’ lame style of management. I don’t get too concerned when they wander off and they do from time to time but I do keep track on deadlines.

We get along fine and they are producing – and more often than not, they surprise me with their work.

So I say Gen wotever. Show people respect and listen to them. When you delegate tell stories and have a laugh. 

Oh yeah … and say thanks.

Often