Tag Archives: content marketing

Life changing events – leaving work to focus on future opportunities and dreams

Last Friday was my last day as Managing Director of a company I helped to build from scratch over 12 years ago. I was one of 6 people who set out with 6 chairs and 6 mobile phones.For most of that time I was Marketing Director, spending the last year as MD. It has been an amazing adventure and experience. I have met and worked with some inspirational people.

I took the decision to leave and not face the complications of another internal restructuring. This will be the first time in 25 years that I do not have a full-time job, but I have 3 months garden leave to consider my future.

life changing events opportunities dreams
Best wishes.

As well as the day job, over the last decade I have also developed a successful sideline as a fitness and yoga teacher. My passion for yoga and teaching, plus my keen interest and experience in marketing, social media, speaking and blogging suggest to me a whole series of opportunities and dreams. And these are the areas I think I will focus my attention.

Offering consultancy services in marketing and social media, picking up some speaking engagements and of course teaching yoga, Body Combat and Body Balance sounds like an ideal combination – if I can get the business mix right.

I’ve already made a start. On my first day of garden leave I went along to a local club and covered a yoga class. It was a class I hadn’t covered before. In the studio I met 15 ladies who were quite surprised to see a male teacher. That’s hardly surprising as most yoga teachers in Edinburgh are women. An hour later I finished the class in my usual way and invited questions from the participants. Was there anything about what we had done today that they wanted me to explain in more detail?

One lady put her hand up and said, “I only have one question. When are you coming back to teach us again.”

I love that sort of feedback.

So I am sat in my garden, slightly nervous that I no longer have the safety net of corporate life to support me. But I feel very excited about leaving the politics and bureaucracy behind and looking forward to possibilities and opportunities of working for myself.

To quote from one of may favourite songs.

“I’d like to make myself believe.

That planet Earth turns slowly.

It’s hard to say that I’d rather stay awake when I’m asleep.

Because my dreams are bursting at the seams “

Your turn: Have you made a big leap from a secure full-time job into the world of consultancy or full-time teaching? I’d love to hear your stories. Leave a comment below or post a link to your own blogs or articles.


Where’s the best place to go for creative and innovative ideas?

Do you like new creative ideas?

I do. I love it when someone comes up with an idea that is genuinely clever, new and racy. I get excited by the potential opportunities such ideas present.

In almost twenty years as a marketer I have seen my fair share of agency pitches for advertising campaigns. Or proposals for communications collateral to support a proposition launch. I’ve seen budgets for such campaigns as low as a few thousand pounds to many millions. But no matter how much budget was available to entice the agency to win the job, I have on occasion felt disappointed when I see their pitches.

Sometimes they are too “samey”. Others are too safe or lack any originality. Granted the agency responds to a brief written by me so I have to make sure that I haven’t caused my disappointment with poorly written requirements. But when I know I have given a strong brief, the heart sinking feeling of disappointment is even harder to bear when a pitch lacks that unique spark.

For the last few years we have sponsored the Product Design students at The Glasgow School of Art (GSA) to run a creative project. This year we asked them to come up with four original ideas for what a Mutual Company might offer as its proposition. Mutuality is perhaps a bit of a tired concept. And not many people understand that unlike a Public Company, which shareholders own, it’s the customers that own a Mutual Company.

In the past I have been very impressed by the concepts the students have come up with, so I was looking forward to seeing what their ideas were. Could they make mutuality interesting?

Needless to say their presentations overwhelmed me. The six students had locked themselves away in a brainstorming room for a week. Not only had they met our brief and come up with four concepts, but they had also produced posters, leaflets and copy explaining the proposition, and flow charts to show their processes.

What's the best place to go for creative and innovative ideas?
Some of the material the students put together.

Their production was professional. The material was eye-catching, Their copy was simple and to the point.

But the jaw dropping moment came when I realised that they had come up with two ideas which were genuinely original. In fact they were innovative, clever and racy. I almost felt like nipping out and filing a few patents. Yes really their ideas were that good.

Okay so there might have been a bit of naivety in some of the high level concepts, but these students are not (yet) business people.

And here’s the thing. They put all this together for a prize amount of just over one thousand pounds.

Their ideas were fresher, more interesting, and more exciting than agency pitches I have seen for a hundred, maybe a thousand times that amount of money.

So well done to Santini Basra, Steven Payne, Eloise Foster-Smith, Yee Ruh Ooi, Alice Gunn, Struan Wood and to their Professor, Gordon Hush for such an exciting presentation.

What's the best place to go for creative and innovative ideas?
From left to right: Gordon Hush, Santini Basra, Steven Payne, me, Eloise Foster-Smith, Yee Ruh Ooi, Alice Gunn and Struan Wood.

I wish you all the very best for the future.

And do you hear me big corporate enterprises? If you end up employing one of these guys one day, don’t you dare stifle their creativity with bureaucracy and governance.

And if you are thinking of spending a fortune on an agency, why not try some students first, and then refine their ideas with an agency later? That’s what I’m going to do. I bet I end up being disappointed much less in future.

Your turn: I would really like to hear your stories about new creative and innovative ideas. Where do you go for inspiration. What’s the most unlikely source of innovative thinking that you have found. Please leave a comment below or paste a link to your own articles.

Worth sharing – infographic on why HR must embrace and not hate social media

A while back I wrote a post asking why do some IT and HR departments hate social media marketing?

I wrote it because I believe that social media marketing should form a strong part of a company’s business strategy. Engaging the staff in this process creates an army of brand ambassadors. But in many businesses they block social media from the staff.

Why is this?

Because HR departments hate social media. They don’t want their staff on Facebook and Twitter and not working now do they?

But people not doing their jobs is not a social media issue. It’s about good management.

Remember about 20 years ago when phones appeared on people’s desks. In those days, HR said that staff would spend all their time on the phone talking to friends. They didn’t of course.

Anyway the guys at Compliance and Safety sent me this great infographic which sets out why HR must embrace and not hate social media.

Click here to Tweet this infographic to your followers.

So let’s be clear. It’s never about the technology? It wasn’t back when phones first appeared on desks and it isn’t now. It’s always been about managing the staff.

Don’t block social media, because in reality your staff might be able to help promote the company or create good content for you.

Over to you: What do you think about this infographic on why HR must embrace and not hate social media? Have you seen resistance to social media from your HR people? How have you addressed their concerns. Have you got them on board? Please leave a comment by clicking on “leave a reply” below here.

Worth sharing – the history of social media infographic

Here’s another fabulous infographic from Copyblogger – this time on the history of social media.

This is what they say:

“I’m going to let you in on a well-kept secret.

There’s nothing new about “social media.”

The concept behind Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social networking tools isn’t new. These sites just give us new, sexy, and easy-to use ways to do what we’ve always wanted to do online — exchange ideas and information.

The Internet has always been social, and it always will be.”


A History of Social Media Infographic
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Over to you: If you liked this history of social media infographic go ahead and share it.