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

New Year. New Hopes. Old Realities …

Welcome back.

How was it?

Full of festive cheer or headaches and disappointment.

Bet you’d swap it all again for today wouldn’t you.

Even when you like your job, coming back to work after the holidays is hard.

Getting up early.

Transport hell.

Going through the same conversations with everyone at work.

Thinking about what you were doing at that time just a few days before.

Why do we do it to ourselves? Oh I know … to pay the bills.

Well fortunately not only did I have a lovely time in Australia, I ended 2019 winning the inaugural R/GA London Planner Pie-Off competition with my [surprisingly] delicious Great British Bake Off Fry-Up Pie, so you’ll understand why I have high hopes for this year – with one of the biggest hopes being we might actually move into our new home after 6+ months of legal nightmares. We shall see.

But as we are back at work and no one wants to be here, I thought I’d start by writing a post that captures a sense of optimism for the new year.

It’s 2020.


That means we are post Blade Runner times … which has to be cool, doesn’t it?


Don’t blame you … just typing that is enough to give me heart palpitations and it’s only Monday. So to calm us down and to get back to an issue I’m passionate about – especially in these client optimization obsessed times – here is why brand building is not a luxury, but a critical investment in building a sustainable future, especially in these highly competitive, increasingly turbulent times.

Or to quote a Chinese proverb, “a successful farmer plants their seeds and nurtures them in the knowledge that when it comes time to harvest, their crop is bigger and healthier. It takes time, but it is always worth it.”

Said another way … if you’re always trying to harvest, there won’t be anything left to grow.

Given the amount of brands who are openly admitting their focus on short-term sales has hurt their long term business, there may be hope for us all to get back to making work that builds rather than just takes.

See, 2020 isn’t so bad so far after all …

14 Comments so far
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aussieland is burning.
trump is starting ww3.
this blog is back.
2020 is a fucking shitstorm already.

Comment by andy@cynic

Excellent insulting commenting. And so early in the year.

The rest seems to have done us all good.

Comment by Rob

and what the fuck is that pie.
iranian chiefs got killed for less. much fucking less.

Comment by andy@cynic

Far less than Trump wants to admit.

Comment by George

He will claim the evidence is a matter of national security and cannot be published.

Comment by Pete

I know. But it seriously tasted pretty good.

Though I can’t help but feel it benefited from the Susan Boyle effect. At first glance you couldn’t imagine anything worthwhile coming out of it and then, when you experience it, it’s not nearly as questionable as you imagined and so you bathe it with a level of praise that is disproportionate.

But it did taste pretty good. Honest.

Comment by Rob

happy fucking new year. im going to bed to hope this is all a fucking nightmare.

Comment by andy@cynic

Welcome back Rob. Your holiday looked great though the fires across Australia are frightening. I don’t know how you go from making strange pies (if that won, I don’t want to see what you were competing against) to the ramifications of only focusing on transactional value, but it suggests this blog is set for a seminal year.

Comment by George

The fires are devastating. The pollution was everywhere despite us being relatively far from the fires. And yet their imbecile of a Prime Minister acts like it’s everyone else’s responsibility.

Comment by Rob

Happy 2020, though so far the news has not been great.

I wonder how much that “measurable, immediate” strategy is going to cost Heinz to reclaim their premium price and long term customer preference?

Comment by Pete

Pretty sure there’s a story of a company who stopped advertising for 1 year to explore the effect it would have on their business. After 7 months, I am sure they found they were still doing well (ignoring the fact it was the halo effect of their years of brand advertising) but by the end of the experiment, they’d dropped far down the rankings and had to spend more than their previous budgets to try and get back into the consciousness of culture again. Given the products Heinz make, I doubt they fell out of the minds of people but it is obvious that they walked away from the value they had spent years instilling in them and as such, are potentially now a commodity than a ‘Heinz’ product.

Comment by Rob

Happy 2020 to all. A strong start to the year Robert, but I don’t know if I was ready to hear about the pie you made.

Regarding Heinz. There are plenty of analyst reports on the how deeply their strategy damaged the companies long term standing. If you can get a copy, it is well worth the read.

Comment by Lee Hill

You won with that pie? You’ve just set English cuisine back 30 years. Is there anything else for you to achieve in 2020?

Comment by DH

The pie looks much better than the name suggests it would. That is the best and only compliment I can give it Robert.

Comment by Mary Bryant

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