Six rules for successful meetings and other brave words

Edition 6 of Human thinking for an alien world. Click here to read your regular instalment of carefully curated articles to challenge and inspire.


Brave Words Edition 5

Human thinking for an alien world. Click here to read your regular instalment of carefully curated articles to challenge and inspire.


Brave Words Edition 4

Human thinking for an alien world. Click here to read your regular instalment of carefully curated articles to challenge and inspire.


Brave Words Edition 3

Human thinking for an alien world. Click here to read your regular instalment of carefully curated articles to challenge and inspire.


Brave Words Edition 2

Human thinking for an alien world. Click here to read your regular instalment of carefully curated articles to challenge and inspire.


Brave Words Edition 1

Human thinking for an alien world. Click here to read your regular instalment of carefully curated articles to challenge and inspire.


The 5 P’s of Artificial Intelligence

Some predict that Artificial Intelligence will drive the next industrial revolution. What is certain is that over the next few years AI will become more important to marketers.

But to unlock AI’s huge potential you need an AI strategy. Here are five Ps to help you develop yours.


AI for what? How can AI help your organisation? What business problem are you trying to solve?

Read the full article here…

More evidence of the online retail dominance from Amazon

Amazon won Thanksgiving and Black Friday as retail strategy varied.

Amazon’s dominance of online retail in the U.S. was on fully display this Thanksgiving and on Black Friday according to data collected by Hitwise.

According to the competitive intelligence and consumer insights firm, Amazon processed 5.6m transactions on Thanksgiving Day and 7.1m transactions on Black Friday.

All told, of the top 50 retailers in the U.S., Amazon captured nearly half (45.1%) of all transactions on Thanksgiving Day and over half (54.9%) of transactions on Black Friday.

These figures far eclipsed the second and third most prolific online sellers, Walmart and Best Buy, which accounted for 13.9% and 8.3% of all transactions on Thanksgiving Day and 8.8% and 5% of all transactions on Black Friday, respectively, demonstrating just how well Amazon’s formidability extends to the holiday shopping season despite significant efforts by the competition.

But that doesn’t mean that other retailers weren’t able to find success. While Amazon led top 50 retailers in transactions processed on both Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday, Shutterfly managed to top Amazon’s conversion rate by 1.4% (8% to 6.6%) on Thanksgiving Day.

Read the full article here…

It’s not about being right, it’s about not being wrong

The Budweiser principle.

On Madison Avenue, one of the theories I was taught was the Budweiser principle.

How Budweiser got to be the biggest-selling beer in the world.

The secret was: it was everyone’s second choice.

Nobody loved Budweiser, but nobody hated it.

It worked like this.

Supposing I was going to the store to get a case of beer for the weekend.

My favourite beer might be Pabst, but that tastes too hoppy for some people.

So I get a case of Pabst but I also get a case of Bud in case any visitors come round, because no-one objects to Bud.

Read the full article here…

Expectations have changed. Six trends for 2018

Technology is changing the way people interact with brands and the expectations they hold.  We’re demanding more with each turn of the wheel of progress, every time one brand launches a new trick to make a transaction smoother or communication more intimate the bar is raised for all the others. Conversely every time a brand drops a ball by leaking data or failing ethically, the fear is struck into all the others in the category.

To help you navigate these shifting sands of expectations here are six demands consumers will be making of brands in 2018 and the technologies that help you get there.

Read the full article here…

Your mind is like a parachute. It functions better when it’s open

In an ever-polarized world, it’s important to consider points of view other than your own. But truly being open-minded involves some tricky mental work.

The idea that opposites attract isn’t entirely true. People prefer to hang out with people who are like-minded, according to research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. While this makes for easy-going relationships and conversations, it doesn’t help to broaden your perspective or open your mind. To do those things, you have to purposefully take other actions.

“Becoming more open-minded is actually a counterintuitive mental task,” says John Brown, psychologist and organizational development consultant for EPIC Insurance Brokers & Consultants. “Our brains think in whole ideas, the famous cognitive psychologist Jean Piaget taught us. These whole ideas are called ‘schema.’”

Read the full article here…

The new brain drain is an algorithm

IN AN ORDINARY hospital room in Los Angeles, a young woman named Lauren Dickerson waits for her chance to make history.

She’s 25 years old, a teacher’s assistant in a middle school, with warm eyes and computer cables emerging like futuristic dreadlocks from the bandages wrapped around her head. Three days earlier, a neurosurgeon drilled 11 holes through her skull, slid 11 wires the size of spaghetti into her brain, and connected the wires to a bank of computers. Now she’s caged in by bed rails, with plastic tubes snaking up her arm and medical monitors tracking her vital signs. She tries not to move.

Read the full article here…

Too many facts get in the way of the truth

One dietary fad that never made sense to me was the campaign against the consumption of eggs.

Now call me an old Darwinist, but here we are having spent a few million years evolving into a bald monkey with prehensile thumbs, perfectly optimised as an egg-stealing machine, and yet the digestion of an omelette somehow came as a horrible shock to our cardiovascular system. What next, I wondered. Perhaps they’ll discover that 45 per cent of cows are allergic to grass, or that sharks are largely sea-food intolerant.

And it seems that the opprobrium directed at eggs was mostly wrong. It was based on the assumption that, since some cholesterol is bad, and since eggs contain it, ergo the consumption of every single egg was a stepping-stone to the grave. In fact it seems dietary cholesterol is not the source of bodily cholesterol: many people who increase their egg consumption find their cholesterol levels fall.

Read the full article here…

Taste is relative not absolute. A buttery tale.

The margarine test: why marketers must look at what people do rather than what they say.

The 1940s were a dispiriting decade for American margarine makers.

Despite being cheaper than other spreads, shoppers viewed margarine as an unappetising white gloop. Its reputation was so tarnished that Joseph Quarles, a Wisconsin senator, said: “I want butter that has the natural aroma of life and health. I decline to accept as a substitute caul fat, matured under the chill of death, blended with vegetable oils and flavoured by chemical tricks.”

At this low ebb Good Luck margarine, a leading American brand, decided to hire a Ukrainian psychologist, Lois Cheskin, to understand what was causing its, well, bad luck.

Read the full article here…

Key Parker continues journey with Bridgestone

  • Lutterworth-based strategic consultancy extends partnership with Bridgestone
  • Tyre manufacturer ‘very impressed’ by Key Parker’s creativity
  • Consultancy expands current remit and prevails over 10 other agencies

A Lutterworth marketing consultancy has extended its client relationship with Bridgestone UK, after impressing the world’s largest tyre manufacturer with its ‘creativity and ability to understand what motivates its customers.’ Key Parker, which already boasted a six-year relationship with the Warwick based business, came out on top
in a competitive tendering process which involved 10 other creative agencies.

Bridgestone UK outlined a need for an integrated marketing resource across all aspects of the business with a single agency to offer solutions for its consumer, commercial, truck, motorcycle and agricultural divisions. Previously, Key Parker worked solely within the consumer sector of the business.

The tender sought to evaluate creative strength, digital capability and innovative thinking, in line with a new European strategic approach to the increasingly competitive tyre market. As part of the agreement, Key Parker will fully immerse itself in the business with a member of staff working from Bridgestone’s Tachbrook Park
office on a regular basis.

Bridgestone’s marketing communications manager Andy Mathias said:

“We were very impressed by Key Parker’s thinking, creativity and their ability to understand what motivates our customers across all divisions of our complex business. This, coupled with their drive and tenacity meant we found the perfect partners to help
us move forward.”

Key Parker’s client services director Nigel Bromley said:

“We are beyond delighted to be able to continue our relationship with Bridgestone. It also owns the Firestone brand, is a worldwide sponsor of the Olympics and sponsors golf events on the European and Challenge tours. It is a fascinating business boasting a number of passionate people. We really can’t wait to get started.”