What kind of customers do you have? New audio series, Virgin's banking plans, Spain and Northwestern - and an old video
If you want to persuade people, you'd better understand them.
So here's a tip: read the correspondence.
Many years ago I wrote copy for a pain reliever called Cephos. The fact that people used put it in warm water to sooth their aching feet told you a lot about what they were like. We used strip cartoons in the advertising.
When I was working on American Express I was impressed by the fact that the top people - in the U.K., anyhow - used to listen in on customer calls.
Currently there is heated discussion on the Citywire site about a speech made by Nigel Farage, the UKIP man, about the European situation.
A man with the pseudonym "Dislexic Landlord" proves he's not kidding when he writes "the sooner we leave this curcus the better". But he is not alone. At least half the people writing in are ignorant and semi-literate. The other half are pretty well-informed and write well.
I promised a week or so ago to start a series of audio seminars on creative and marketing.
This arrived on Thursday - but I was immediately thrown into a panic because my partner Al was rushed into hospital with a punctured appendix. He's O.K. now, thank God.
I was not sure if I should have two separate series or just one. The reason is that I don't really think you can be much good at the communications if you don't understand the business. On balance I think one makes sense.
I read somewhere that Richard Branson promises to shake up the banking industry the way he shook up the railways.
This is more of a threat than a promise.
For years Virgin Trains were a complete bugger's muddle. I remember having to spend a night in some dire hotel in the middle of nowhere because my Virgin train from Manchester to London broke down - and their fare structure is as impenetrable and outrageous as everyone else's.
What's more, as a friend pointed out the other day, the Virgin financial services, after a fine start, are now not much better than anyone else's - nor are their marketing messages. I believe that internally they have the same initiative-crushing deadheads running things as their competitors.
If you can't see the video above, try clicking here.