市场营销 | marketing | 마케팅 思想 | ideas | 생각

The Age of The Commons: Authority Trumps Leadership

Reading Time: 2 minutes

I had been thinking about this for a while and my interest in it got reignited over lunch with Wadds just before Christmas. We were discussing the pros and cons of sharing expertise on a blog or other social media, particularly when it comes to marketing and marketing communications disciplines.

On the one hand, its giving your competitors (in the professional and the career sense) a leg up. That expertise could be used for competitive advantage so I may want to hide my light under a bushel. I could then enshrine this expertise as a business process or service mark and leverage this in competitive situations. This assumes that I am smarter than everyone else online, which of course is complete hogwash: Mrs Carroll didn’t raise no fool, but she’s also aware of my limitations.

The secondary consideration is that if I have this business process or service mark, how would the man in the street know the real power of it vis-à-vis competitor offerings? You are are in a ‘he said. she said situation’.

Chances are I am not that much smarter than everyone else, but considerably smarter than some people (yeah and modest too.)  So kicking out ideas via this blog or other channels is way of having them picked, poked and prodded: kind of like peer review in academia but with only ten per cent of the politics and none of the corduroy jackets with leather patches or the reek of cheap pipe tabacco. Sharing ideas negates any leadership advantage that I may have, but does help to build authority.

Authority is about trust which is more substantive than anything competitive leadership could have given me. Trust would be further enhanced by successful delivery.

In addition, sharing ideas freely means that I don’t need to think about all areas all the time because I can build upon the thinking that other people have done elsewhere; I benefit from reviewing and critiquing commons content as well as adding to the body of the commons.

Moving thinking forward allows the industry as a whole to grow and helps spur demand in clients once they understand what is possible.  At a time when over half the clients for online PR choose agencies from other disciplines to develop strategy and execute campaigns growing the collective opportunity has never been more important.

市场营销 | marketing | 마케팅 思想 | ideas | 생각

Cadbury’s Dairy Milk advert: the eyebrow ad, or the sinister children ad – take your pick

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Fallon’s latest work on the Dairy Milk brief is clever and has a nicer backing track (ok I am biased in my opinion as an aging B-Boy). One element of the campaign which seems to have slipped through the cracks however is the integration of on-demand printing service Photobox.

Cadburys eyebrow ad

In the past, the brand would commission merchandise to be made and have it fulfilled against an expected number of redemptions which required submitting coupons or tokens to a postal address. In the early 1990s Tango took it up a notch by using premium rate numbers (0898 numbers) where the consumer left their contact details, the call paid for the cost of the merchandise and then fulfillment took place as usual.

Cadbury Dairy Milk Photobox integration

Cadbury, Photobox and Fallon have designed a portal that creates on demand mugs with a picture of the consumers choice. This reduces the cost to Cadbury and possibly may make the coding effort completely self-liquidating. There should be no fulfillment difficulties because of the on-demand nature of the Photobox business and the consumer has a deeper one-on-one engagement with the Cadbury brand.

The only downside on this is that Cadbury is losing an opportunity for potential data capture, however this is unlikely to be the case. Consumers generally wouldn’t be willing to give Cadbury the same level of information that they will give Photobox for an e-commerce purchase. And if consumers are engaged enough to the Cadbury Dairy Milk brand, they are likely to have already signed up on the A Glass And A Half Full Productions website anyway, so Cadbury will at least have their email address.

在线 | online | 온라인으로 如何 | howto | 방법 市场营销 | marketing | 마케팅 思想 | ideas | 생각

Grokking Google

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I worked on a presentation about Grokking Google for the guys that I work with. Showing them how they could use the web to work smarter. In amongst this was research on all the different things that you could do with the Google search box. However, if there is any things that you know of that I have missed here, then feel free to add them in the comments box.

Here’s a summary posting of the stuff here for your convenience:

  • An exact phrase should be searched for by putting it in quote marks“” for instance: “Ged Carroll”
  • You can exclude terms using a minus sign – here’s one we created earlier: “Ged Carroll” -Yahoo
  • If you have a search term that could be done in a number of different ways, for instance looking for a film, maybe also be a movie or a motion picture. So searching for similar words can be done using a tilde sign ~, using the example of films again:  ~movie gives cinema showtimes and DVDs in the first SERP (search engine results page)
  • Rather than doing two separate searches, you can look for either or. Here is one I prepared earlier: “Ged Carroll” or “renaissance chambara”
  • If you want to restrict search to materials from particular years (like press releases) then a number range search signified by three full-stops … comes in handy, here’s a demonstration: “Ged Carroll” 2006…2008
  • Google replaces having a reference library on a book shelf that people use to have (I still do, there is a large wooden bookcase full of reference books, style guides and specialist dictionaries  behind me in my home office / living room), so in order to get a definition use define: if you are feeling adventurous then you can try to find a working definition for PR – define:PR
  • If you know the site that the materials should be on, but you can’t find them (like a technical support information). With this in mind site specific search comes in handy via site: for example – “Office 2008”
  • Rather than looking at information on a website, it is often handy to find which sites already link into a site of interest. The link: command allows you to do this –
  • Narrow a search term by looking for a file type. For instance if you are looking for a presentation, why not look for a PowerPoint file or for a report why not narrow things down by looking for a PDF using the filetype:pdf command  for example looking for the classic open source essay penned by Eric Raymond : “cathedral and the bazaar” filetype:pdf
  • Find out about a company’s stock price by putting in the stock ticker symbol, here’s one I pulled together to follow the continuing decline of Yahoo! Inc.’s current decline under the influence of Mr Carl Icahn: YHOO
  • Finding out the location of STD code by searching for the number, for instance 01295

You don’t need to have a desk calculator any more as the Google search box will take care of your calculating needs:

思想 | ideas | 생각

Grow your network, look for rotating doors

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If you ask a HR person one of the measures that they are generally concerned about is staff turnover or churn. That is what is the percentage of of the workforce that leave the company in a 12-month period. This means that there is a higher cost of acquisition of talent within a business and a lot of knowledge walking out of a business.  It is inferred that the company is a bad place to work.


I worked in my first agency some ten years ago for two and a half years during that time I went from having no contacts in London to a Rolodex full of cards and a Palm Vx with 1,500 names in it. It was the go-go years of the telecoms boom / linux bubble / era and my colleagues moved on to work inhouse and for found successful agencies like Rainier. Heather who sat next to me is now an interior designer making over the pads of some of Silicon Valley’s finest engineers.

During my time at Yahoo! I made a series of contacts who now work for some of Europe’s hottest start-ups and media companies from Moo to Guardian Media Group. A number of them have bootstrapped together start-ups including health and fitness experiential marketplace Wahanda.

In businesses with high churn rate, there was also a high degree of entrepreneurship and career advancement. So whilst, going and working for a high-churn organisation maybe a risky and unpleasant experience; it could also the best thing that ever happened to your network and the current economic status could be an unprecedented opportunity.

思想 | ideas | 생각 消费者行为 | consumer behaviour | 소비자 행동

What does local really mean?

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One of the big things about social media is that it provides useful content at an ever more granular ‘local’ basis than would have been economically possible before. Through my friends bookmarks, social network platforms or question and answer services I can get recommendations on where to find lessons in a particular martial art, recommendations on a good neighbourhood restaurant or a good launderette in Brighton.

But what does local actually actually mean, and does local news and information have value to consumers? For me, my neighbourhood is central London, I work in Covent Garden and my friends live in west and south London so meeting in Soho or Southbank makes sense because the transport system makes it equally convenient for all of us. This means that I don’t really identify with the neighbourhood where my house is. This stateless identification of neighbourhood is further amplified by my online life where I engage through social media with a mix of friends from around the world via my blog, Twitter or my Facebook status bar.

I barely know anybody on my block, many of my neighbours are post-graduate students at Queen Mary College and I have very little local knowledge beyond The Morgan gastro-pub right around the corner from my house, the local sorting office for the Royal Mail, my local coffee shop and the Budgens supermarket next door to it; both of which are right by my closest tube station.

I couldn’t tell you who is a good GP to sign  up with, the name of a good quality local plumber or which school to try and send your kids to.  I don’t know my local councillor and couldn’t tell you the hot ticket issues affecting Tower Hamlets council. I probably know more about Wirral Borough Council and Galway County Council through family and lifelong friends. If we think about other communities such as the Poles or Chinese who invigorated the workforce, ethnic media rather than local media becomes important.

Local media is very different for every person and the only way to achieve relevance for each person is a huge degree of customisation: on location, on network, on ethnicity and a whole plethora of other factors that I haven’t even covered here.

This has implications in a couple of areas:

  • Efforts to foster a civic society will be hampered by a lack of engagement by a substantial minority in the neighbourhood. Otherwise ‘up and coming’ refers to bringing up the house prices and coming to force the local population out into the hinterland
  • Multi-culturalism is redefined as there is no longer a need for a consistent majority, no mass segment for local or national politics but a sliver of micro-interests instead making government policy much more difficult
  • The quality of information that social media sites will receive in up-and-coming areas like Mile End where I live isn’t going to get any better unless people like me start posting their local recommendations

I am not sure yet what the answer is likely to be, but I am going to make a start by trying to enjoy the neighbourhood where my house is more.