I sent this out to the list yesterday, and a lot of people liked it, so I'm sticking it up here.
Do you hate watching or listening yourself talk?
I do. I rarely watch my stuff in full - and when I do often find myself wincing.
I hate my accent. And I have hated my nose since I was about 7 years old. I am alarmed to see that my grandson Rowan may have inherited it. I blame my father.
Anyhow, Al forced me to watch my latest no-singing, no-dancing video, which starts by talking about the ghastly mistakes research can cause.
When I did I realised that the biggest mistakes I have seen have nothing to do with research. They are to do with nothing, as in "doing nothing".
About a year ago we produced some ads for a firm that is the largest in the world in their field. Their existing stuff just wasn't cutting the mustard.
It was hard work.
A couple of people in the firm (there are always a gallant few) realised what was needed and fought hard to get it through.
But their corporate drones (there always plenty) complained that it didn't fit in with their "brand values". It was like pulling teeth to get anything vaguely effective through.
- It took them a whole year to measure their results, which were amazingly good, they said.
- Now we're on the second stage of the project - which any small business would have completed within a few weeks.
But what's extraordinary is that once again they've gone and taken stuff we know will work and weakened it.
Three morals from this:
- Why hire a dog and bark yourself? We know how to get replies. They don't.
- If someone proves they know what they're doing, let them do it. Don't make the same dumb mistake twice.
- Don't waste time. Get on with it.
Somebody once said that a corporation does not have a soul. I think few of them have anything resembling a brain.
I imagine you've heard of Pareto's 80:20 principle, which should govern your marketing. It states that 20% of the people have 80% of the money.
His lost principle - which he forgot to write down - is this:
In large organisations, 40 people can say "no", only one can say "yes" - and he's in a meeting.
The video I mentioned provoked lots of responses. I asked people if they had any questions.
One said "You gave me so many things to do that I haven't time."
Another said "57 minutes is too long for working peeps."
That was interesting, though perhaps it ignores the existence of the pause button. I think an hour spent now can save you months of wasted time later.
People often ask me how I get so much done. Actually I'm very lazy. I spend nearly all my time thinking, far less doing. Then when I do it takes less time.
George Bernard Shaw said: "Few people think more than two or three times a year; I have made an international reputation for myself by thinking once or twice a week."