How to be Brave

No one expects to get rich or famous writing a business book.

Today, that’s probably truer than ever.  People apparently have less time and too many other demands on their attention to plough through a book about work stuff. So naturally they don’t buy one to read by the pool.

Unless they’re a total weirdo.

We really like the idea of reading one and may get round to it.  But probably not at all in reality. It seems a bit too hard. For too little gain.

The problem? Business books aren’t easy enough.  No matter how lovely the cover or amusing the author, if it’s an inch thick with lots of small type and pie charts, it whispers just one thing.  You’ll never finish it.

So in light of all that valuable advice, I’ve written a business book.  For the time poor.  

Tested to be read in the time it takes to drink a reasonably hot cup of tea, ‘How to be brave and make your thinking more human’  is about understanding the human brain’s powerfully hardwired nature and how you can make it work for you when trying to sell or persuade.

It’s also tantalisingly free.  You can get your copy by clicking here.

Do let me know what you think.

 

Steamy, sizzling new client

Our latest client addition is bcg who are one of the biggest suppliers and distributors of plumbing, heating, kitchen and bathroom products in the UK.  Owned by the giant merchant supplier Wolseley, bcg specialise in the independent merchant and retailer sector and have appointed Key Parker to develop their brand strategy and all of their communications. 

23561 BCG BATHROOM BOOK AD_297x230_V3_KBN 23561 BCG KITCHEN BOOK AD_297x230_V3_KBN

Saniflo Chooses Key Parker

Saniflo may have 95% market share but that hasn’t stopped this ambitious business taking steps to continue to grow. With a belief that they can inspire more people to change their living space they have appointed Key Parker to deliver a new creative direction for the 34 year old brand. Saniflo was last seen on TV in February 2013 with a campaign bought through Total Media and produced in France.

The appointment follows a competitive 3 way tender process led by Saniflo’s new Head of Marketing Ann Boardman, who said “This is a big change for us. We want to inspire our customers to reinvent their homes and we needed to completely rejuvenate our brand communications in order to do that. And we provide astonishingly detailed support to our network of installers. The team at Key Parker demonstrated a different and refreshing approach and an exciting direction for the brand to take.”

Key Parker will develop work for the brand across all elements of the comms mix with new work launching January. “Saniflo needs to engage with a busy audience and we think that a combination of beautiful design and bold ideas will help a great brand stand out as the market leader it is. This is a great win for the agency and we are proud to be the custodians of another well known brand.” Said Gordon Carmichael, managing director of Key Parker

What do data security and a toilet have in common?

More than you’d think…

According to the BBC, luxury toilets are vulnerable to attack after an App developer failed to consider that control of the high-tech toilet is not restricted to the owner.

More amusing for the concept than the actual risk though. It does, however, highlight the consideration for data security and privacy, where the line between private and public information is ever-blurring.

Here’s the article if you’d like to know more.

Le Mans 2013 – More than just a motor race

As a motorsport fan in my early forties, I felt I’d experienced most of the emotions associated with the sport I was ever likely to. That all changed the day an email arrived congratulating me on winning a competition I’d entered online to design the graphics on one of the Gulf-sponsored Aston Martin Vantage GTEs racing at this year’s Le Mans 24 Hour race.

This meant my design, a refresh of one of sportscar racing’s iconic liveries, would appear on an Aston Martin in the company’s centenary year at one of the world’s greatest motorsport events – a mythical event I’d grown up in awe of. It also meant my dad and I would be going to France to watch the car race as VIP guests!

Two weeks after the event it is still hard to articulate what this all meant to me, let alone how I felt the first time I saw the car on track. Quite simply, I felt privileged to be involved, albeit in such a small way and that sense of involvement increased as the weekend’s events unfolded. The highs and lows that only sport can provide mattered so much more. From the confidence the team felt as they started the race so well, to the sheer disbelief felt by everyone as it was announced that Allan Simonsen, a driver in one of the team’s other cars, had died as a result of injuries sustained in an accident on lap 3. Once the decision to race on had been taken, at the insistence of Allan’s family, a steely determination to win the GTE Pro class in his honour helped everyone through the rest of the event.

It is well documented elsewhere how close the car carrying my design came to achieving this win on such a difficult weekend for the team. As I sat there on the evening after the race, trying to make sense of everything that had unfolded, I received a tweet that simply said, ‘An amazing weekend, deep pride, excitement, sorrow… a whole heap of emotions’. It summed up perfectly a weekend that I’ll never forget.

The design submitted can be seen below.

designs

Birmingham City University

We have been working closely with Birmingham City University this year – supporting their Future Media Masters Degree course students. Part of that support saw us sharing and supporting the students as they worked for the first time on a live brief. We’ve very much enjoyed our involvement with these lovely bright people and they’ve showed some really elegant ideas.

Here’s what Julia has said about the Bridgestone project.

 

Interflora

This article caught my attention and then made me smile today. But not because of the article itself!

I had the pleasure of working with Interflora some years ago – and a very fine organization they were too, with some lovely very passionate florists creating some lovely products – so I naturally wanted to read about them.

Shame too, if they’ve been badly advised and have ended up paying the penalty with Google.

But, what made me smile very much was the banner ad at the top of the page – a competitor with a Sympathy flowers offer. Perfect comedy timing.

Was it a deliberate placement or just a magic moment of luck?

I guess we’ll never know!

Construction Marketing Winners!

Key Parker picked up the trophy and bubbly last night as winners of the ‘best use of advertising’ category at the Chartered Institute of Marketing’s annual Construction Marketing Awards.

The prestigious event, held at the Radisson Blu hotel in Portman Square, was hotly contested in all categories with a record number of entries this year.

Our winning entry was for a brand campaign for our client CEMEX which ran throughout the Olympic and Paralympic period positioning CEMEX as a service leader. Campaign results showed a 67% year on year increase in web clicks, a month on month doubling of social media conversations and a 30% month on month increase in sales enquiries.

Judges Comment:

Well researched and topical campaign which achieved a major shift in the customer perception of the business. The focused campaign delivered strong results including increase in sales enquiries, bucking the seasonal trends.

Line up now for an Autograph!

We all found out this week just how amazingly talented Louise is by going to watch her latest leading role. And having enjoyed the whole show – I was left with just one question. Why isn’t she in The West End? Still, next time we need someone to sing in a commercial I know where to go!!!

You can read a review of the show here.

Erin celebrates 1st Key Parkerversary

Lovely Erin, adored by clients and colleagues alike, celebrated her 1st anniversary with Key Parker today. To brighten up the damp and dreary day we shared cake and fabulous fingers – Erin’s latest chocolate addiction! Thanks for your hard work and peppering our days with craziness and laughter, KP just wouldn’t be the same without you.

Jet set and urbane!?!

To use the words of Billy Connolly we felt very “jet set and urbane this week and possibly a little windswept and interesting too” – when we trouped down to The Bingham Hotel in Richmond to hold a brand strategy meeting with clients who flew in from places as far afield as Boston USA , and Helsingborg Sweden. Oh and four of us from Lutterworth!

Read more

Reshuffle

We may be 40 years old this year, but over the last 18 months Key Parker has undergone a bit of a reshuffle. Although, on reflection, its been more of a reinvention.

New senior management, new staff, new clients, new thinking and a brand new website (it’s taken a while, perhaps a case of the cobbler wearing the worst shoes, but we finally got there!)

Why all the changes? Because the world’s changed.

Right now we know that two things are certain: the pace of change is brutal and nothing is certain.

However, when the winds of change are blowing, you can either build a shelter or a windmill.

We know the world’s changed and we know we don’t have all the answers. But we do know we have an agency model that is agile and responsive, whose offering is based on sound strategic thinking and compelling ideas, beautifully executed.

We call it: ideas delivered.

It was like the Ryder Cup

TNT Charity golf day

 

We recently entered a Team into the TNT Charity golf day held to raise money for The Wooden Spoon. And under the captaincy of Marc Ingram we shocked everyone and most of all ourselves by winning. And the Trophy is huge!

The pressure was intense especially as we started badly – until David led the way with a huge drive on the 3rd and motivated us with some quality Canadian wisdom.

We have even convinced ourselves that we provided motivation to the European Team!

Škoda’s big shoot

We’re in the middle of our big shoot for Škoda fighting the changing weather, 6 different locations, 6 different cars, 7 models, one photographer, a host of crew and a lovely client. Cross your fingers for us that everything runs smoothly. Now André…where are the props!?!?

Setting up for the allotment shot – yes we did plant everything!

Al and Terri discuss the shot, the lighting and the imminent rain!

Al directing the model Mark to look relaxed, confident but not smug!

A non-conforming tax!

So, it was interesting to read about a new tax levied at old web browsers:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-18440979

This introduces an interesting concept to web application development, an almost Ryan Air approach, setting a price for simplicity and adding tax on choice and non-conformity!

Where could it end up? What other taxes should we have?

A tax on all Microsoft products?
A tax on mobiles that only make phone calls?
A tax for not understanding Social Media?
A tax for not having the latest iPad?

The list is endless!