The Grey Blog

Amsterdam Weekly: Buy
March 31, 2008, 9:45 am
Filed under: Serious

Amsterdam Weekly have a cash flow problem. Can I encourage anyone reading to buy a piece and help them through this sticky period?


Openness vs Secrecy
March 30, 2008, 8:34 pm
Filed under: Serious

In favour of openness:

  • People are invested in your products
  • You develop the products that people want
  • There’s constant engagement with your customers
  • More inputs to your development and the wisdom of crowds
  • Doing things faster by drawing on others
  • Transparent = honest

In favour of secrecy:

  • Everyone loves a secret (for a little while, at least)
  • You can come up with products people didn’t know they wanted
  • News, when it comes, is big and concentrated enough to get noticed
  • A single-minded focus on doing your own thing brilliantly – fewer distractions and less diluted ideas (wisdom of crowds can also equal mediocrity of crowds)
  • No-one can copy you if they don’t know what you’re doing
  • Easier to manage expectations when people aren’t expecting
  • Confident, verging on arrogant

Ok, it’s not quite as black and white as that. Both work. Most companies will use a bit of both. You probably just have to be a little more remarkable to pull off secrecy.

Loud Recruitment
March 25, 2008, 4:33 pm
Filed under: Serious

I have a nerdy habit of taking pictures of adverts. It’s not cool. Amanda rumbled me for it over the weekend as we were going through the old pictures on my phone.

Anyway, one of the pictures I had hidden there was a big, outdoor Virgin Atlantic recruitment ad for cabin crew. At the time I thought it was great.

  • People say a huge amount about a company. Such a public campaign indicated a determination from Virgin to get the very best people.
  • Recruitment is about action. Not just saying your service is friendly / informal / attentive, but actually hiring people who are.
  • Virgin turned their business need into a positive brand message. As well as a recruitment ad, this was an honest, non-indulgent, insightful and useful (if you were looking for a job) brand ad.

Continue reading

Park City Grill
March 20, 2008, 5:31 pm
Filed under: Less serious

This is a great painting. Park City Grill by John Currin.

All teeth and shallow laughter. There’s something deeply desperate about it. Two lonely daters each cut off in their own private world.

I like how the bloke looks like Cliff Richard dipped in sleaze.

Attention 2.0
March 20, 2008, 3:32 pm
Filed under: Serious

Short version:

Demands on our attention are going up.
That might make us more shrewd with our attention in a variety of ways.
Brands should aim to give more value for attention, as people get more precious.

Long rambling version:

(This turned into a monster – no expertise here – read on for some unauthoritative ramblings.)

Continue reading

March 18, 2008, 2:47 pm
Filed under: Serious

I’ve been thinking that a lot of brands could be more useful. Maybe usefulness is the next dimension that brands need in order to stand out.

It’s part of what I was trying to get at with the back-end stuff below.

Instead of adding to the noise competing for our attention, or forcing into places where we’ve no need for them, can brands and marketing be useful?

I was going to expand on this before I read these creds from Zeus Jones and realised someone else had done a much better job. (Built a whole company around it.)

But it doesn’t seem to be something that many brands are actually doing yet.

Would getting more pro-active about marketing help? Instead of waiting for internal pressures to throw up a brief, could we look more to the outside world and work out what’s actually needed?

More like new product development.

Spotted In Amsterdam
March 17, 2008, 10:23 pm
Filed under: Less serious