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

Corporate Schizophrenia …

During these COVID times, we’ve heard a bunch of terms that are supposedly the foundation of survival – the most widely used being ‘pivot’.

While I get it, the problem I have with this terminology is that it is expressed in such a way as to suggest people or organisations should be willing to let go of everything they have been doing for decades and embark on a totally different activity that may have more important commercial value at that time.

Been an airline for 80 years?

Let it go and start delivering groceries.

Been in hospitality for 3 decades?

Let it go and start working in a supermarket

Been in finance for the last 5 years?

Actually – stay as you are – you’re always going to find a way to make money.

OK, so I’m exaggerating … but I have read so many decks from strategists who throw around buzzwords without either seemingly understanding what they’re actually saying in them or – worse – what the implications would be if people actually did what they said.

Reframing your proposition is not pivoting. It’s reframing your proposition to existing or potential clients.

It’s airlines moving from carrying passengers to carrying freight.

Or restaurants moving from eating in to delivering out.

Pivoting is a fundamental change of direction … and who the fuck would do that?

Well I say that but then I saw this …

Yep, this person is a human pivot.

From digital marketing to being a magician with almost every profession in-between … including MIND READING!!!

From my perspective, he can never be out of work.

Not just because his range of talents means he’ll always be useful to someone – from boardrooms to kids parties – but because if you can mind-read, I expect every one of this marketing recommendations is EXACTLY what clients want.

Maybe this is what planners should be learning instead of frameworks and tools?

Forget my rant from a few weeks back and get down the local magic club to learn a few tricks. Hell, at the very least you could say, “my marketing ideas are magic”.

Just for the record, I’m not taking the piss out of this person – I genuinely think it’s amazing.

But there are 2 questions I would love to know.

1. Which came first, the magician/mindreading or the marketing?

2. Does this broad range of talents attract or repel potential clients?

I admit I noticed him because of his breadth of skills – and in the old days, I did a similar thing by making sure my resume mentioned how I used to be a session guitarist for 80/90’s popstars – however while that captured potential employers attention, I don’t think they would have called me in for interviews if they felt that was still my life.

Who knows, I just find it fascinating this individual openly communicates they’re in the consultancy world and the trickery world [yes, I know, I’m calling out the legitimacy of magic] so I’d love to know more about his story, which – in this competitive world where everyone is being told to pivot – means he’s already ahead of many in the pack.

23 Comments so far
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Pivot is just the latest in a long line of words designed to make you look relevant without having to change anything you do.

Strong start to the week Robert.

Comment by George

I sense it’s going to be another of “those” weeks.

Comment by Bazza

Brand transformation.

Comment by Rob

I think you’re being a bit harsh here Rob. Pivoting reflects taking a different direction to achieve the same goal rather than achieving a different outcome. Though the issue isn’t the word, but the planners who throw it about like they are established business gurus while working in an industry that largely finds it hard to offer any alternative to it’s execution.

Comment by Pete

And what it does offer is at the destruction of what it claims to value rather than finding new ways to incorporate it.

Comment by Pete

Then they create processes that defines output.

Comment by Bazza

Fair. I wrote this when I was particularly grumpy at something.

To make amends, have a look at the best ad of the year and the best Christmas ad of all time. Hopefully you can see it. It is so much better than all the tear-jerkers, emotional stuff from John Lewis. Not because they’re bad, but they’re both expected and – to a large extent – a lie. The reason this is so good is because it’s not just truth, but the ugly truth. Enjoy.


Comment by Rob

That is incredible. So many truths brilliantly and darkly delivered seamlessly in one spot.

Comment by George

Isn’t it amazing! Dark optimism. Haven’t seen something like that since Playstation’s Double Life. It’s so refreshing. So brilliantly cast and acted. The music is perfect. I absolutely adore it. Especially for Christmas where every brand is seemingly following a strategy of ‘positive escapism’ as an antidote to COVID. We don’t need peace and love, we need laughs and this does it absolutely brilliantly, because it’s brilliantly observed – right down to the granny in the opening scene removing tinsel from the cats bum.

Now that’s an opening scene. Brilliant.

Comment by Rob

Fantastic. Closer to most people’s holiday season get together than all the perfect family moment ads. Love it.

Comment by Pete

Brilliant. Who did it?

Comment by Bazza

I believe it was AMV.

With this and the recent Bodyform ‘womb stories’ work, they’re showing why they have stayed at the front for so long. Not many that can say that but wonderful to see.

Comment by Rob

well that is fucking brilliant. havent seen anything thats made me want to watch it over and over again in donkeys years. so fucking well observed and executed. im jealous. thats how much i fucking like it. that shocks the fuck out of me. I thought those days were over with the sea of mediocrity. first smile ive cracked this fucking year.

Comment by andy@cynic

People talk about BBH being the WK of the UK. I always thought it was AMV. This is work even WK couldn’t make.

Comment by Bazza

That’s fantastic. It’s very british too. Brilliant.

Comment by DH

Lazy guru thinking.

Too fat? Lose weight.
Too complex? Simplify.
Parity products? Revolutionize.
Tough market? Pivot.

As Rob likes to say, everything is easy until you have to do it or you have to explain how someone else has to do it.

Comment by Bazzza

Yep. Stating the obvious without any appreciation for what it takes or how to help people see how they can do it. I should point out not everyone is like this, but like the millions of agencies who told companies how they should deal with the COVID situation, without (1) any actual experience of the situation and (2) not doing it themselves – there’s a lot who do.

Comment by Rob

I’ve hated pivot for as long as start-ups have used it to imbue with an air of mastery, the simple fact that their original idea was wrong. It’s inherently dishonest but has that tech cachet. If people just thought of it as adaptation, they’d have a better chance of understanding where they are and where they’re going. Similarly, the flashier magic gets, the more rubbish it gets.

Comment by John

Because you know it’s not true.

Comment by John

It’s an evolution of my Campbell Law ( … if you’re saying it, you’re likely not doing it.

Comment by Rob

I thought Campbell’s Law was “If it’s wifi-enabled, Campbell will buy it. Even if it doesn’t exist.”

Comment by John

Yeah, that’s the law Jill is trying to have cancelled.

Comment by Rob

hardly anyone fucking pivots. theyre all too much of a fucking coward. the only ones who pivot are the ones who have nothing to lose or everything to lose. its the comfortable fucks in the middle who say a lot of shit but do fuck all about it.

Comment by andy@cynic

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