The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

Self Awareness Stops You Being Self Stupid …

So I was talking at event recently about ‘loyalty’ and mentioned how when the Amazon Dash button came out, one of my clients was ecstatic.

In their mind, it meant they were going to see sales grow because instead of having to risk a shopper buying a competitive brand, they would press the button and the sale would be there’s guaranteed.

In my talk, I went on to say how I told the client that was great in theory, but there were 3 things they had to think about.

1. The real winner is always going to be Amazon.

2. It was going to be a huge race to see who could get the most ‘buttons’ into homes.

3. The result would be the destruction of their hardly fought – and expensively bought – premium brand value status.

At the end, a gentleman asked me why I thought turning a brand into a commodity was a bad idea as it meant more sales and that meant more money for the brand and the shareholders.

I must admit, I was quite taken aback by this response and pointed out that being a commodity might generate more sales, but it loses profitability and – more scarily – leaves you open to a competitor deciding to either launch a price war or disrupt the market with a new product.

He wasn’t convinced and kept going on about commodity value and how soon all brands will end up following that route.

I must admit I was a bit rude to him so after the event, I sought him out to have a chat.

Turned out he worked for a car insurance company and highlighted his category was driven purely by price.

When I asked him what he meant, he said:

“As long as your company name is generally known in a generally good light, you will get business”.

It took all my strength not to laugh in his face, so instead I simply replied,

“So you do believe in brand value or you wouldn’t care if the company name was generally known in a generally good light”.

You could see him look confused, so I decided to just finish the job off by saying …

“And if you believe everything is a commodity, why are you wearing an expensive watch when a Timex does the same job?”

He smiled a ‘fuck you’ smile at me, said goodbye then left.

It was a good evening.

22 Comments so far
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making twats hurt.
this is the version of campbell i can put up with.

Comment by andy@cynic

A rare treat to see you comment at this time.

Comment by Pete

Living his best life.

Comment by Rob

As I read this, I could imagine the evil smile that you were trying to hide as you prepared to destroy ths man’s argument to smithereens. Bonus points for kicking him when he was already down.

Comment by Bazza

doesnt make you miss working with the fucker though does it.

Comment by andy@cynic

No. But I do I miss seeing him destroy bullying idiots.

Comment by Bazza

not as stupid as you fucking look then.

Comment by andy@cynic


Comment by Bazza

What you mean Baz, is you prefer it when you are not the biggest idiot in the room. I’m the same, except in my case, I’m often the rock bottom candidate.

Comment by Rob

I would have paid to have watched that. When will people learn those who live in glass houses should never throw stones? Especially at a Nottingham boy who can’t let idiocy pass unnoticed. Well done Robert.

Comment by George

Yep. He was an absolute asshole. We all make mistakes. We all say stupid things. But to keep doing it when it has been pointed out to you why your argument is wrong and why your actions are hypocritical is another thing altogether. Mind you, it makes him a perfect candidate for PM or President based on Trump and BoJo’s actions.

Comment by Rob

Judging by how you responded to the questions at your Cannes talk with Martin, you let him off lightly.

Comment by Pete

Well that was just them trying to be smug … this guy actually believed his stupidity.

Comment by Rob

Is that Cannes talk online anywhere? I’d really like to watch it.

Comment by Marcus Brown

Are you having trouble sleeping then?

Well this will help you immediately.


Comment by Rob

I loved this Robert. A compelling argument, excellently delivered.

Comment by Jonathan Rosenberg

Martin was pretty good wasn’t he.

Comment by Bazza

So happy I got a chance to see this, thanks for sharing, Rob. Loved it! Interesting the slight tone of cynicism in some of the follow up questions. I spose some people rely on order to help them make sense of their job, and as much as they think they want to “shake shit up”, they take comfort in being able to hide behind the safety of the mundane; feel free to give the cage a shake every now and then, just don’t you fucking dare open the door.

Comment by Age

He only has himself to blame.

Comment by Lee Hill

I once did some work with a very large insurance company where I was told about the script followed by staff receiving emergency claim calls. There were twenty four questions to go through before the caller was asked if they and their family were safe. That’s what happens when you compete on price alone.

Comment by John

So apart from eating dumplings, have you done any work yet?

Comment by DH

[…] where they go wrong is not realising disruption without distinction [ie: brand building] doesn’t create long term sustainable value, it just creates new […]

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