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March 2019

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There is a lot of chat currently around why lots of high-end luxury fashion brands are changing their logos.

The talking point, more specifically, is why do they all now look the same?

YVES SAINT LAURENT.

BALENCIAGA

BURBERRY.

BERLUTI.

BALMAIN.

There are lots of opinions on this.

Some say it’s so that the images are better for the digital age.

So they work better on screens.

Because they’re less fussy.

Some say it is to shed memories of a past riddled with things that – these days – are considered politically incorrect.

Or just silly and outdated.

Some say it is to create a simple and visual core for the brand.

So the brand can react to a market that is changing faster than ever.

With campaigns that are born, burn brightly, then switch off.

Leaving the simple core to endure.

Some say it’s so that the brands can visually ‘high five’ each other.

Acknowledge that they are part of the one luxury clothing branding elite.

Some say that as categories blur… luxury / premium / luxury streetwear… it’s a way to push the actual physical brand into the background and let the collections speak louder for themselves.

All I know is that it’s interesting.

That these super-brands are actively morphing to all look alike.

My personal view is this…

They do want to flock together.

I think they feel safer that way as new independent brands come in at the bottom end.

I also think they are playing safe for a faster moving and unpredictable future.

This simplicity keeps them as part of the old club but allows them to create innovative campaigns around the edges.

Campaigns that match or react to the current mood.

I understand all that.

I suppose the only think that may be missing, if indeed I am right in any of my assumptions, is adventure.

Risk.

Verve.

Wow-ness.

In summary – a  willingness to be pioneering.

At a strategic level.

I think a brand can get so big and have so many people reliant on it (shareholders, shops, existing customers and the pounds that they spend) that it gets a bit boring.

Scared to pioneering anything.

So it just follows what the market signals that it wants.

Risk.

I am not a fan of just ‘following’ in this short life of ours.

I like brands that go out on a limb.

That DO take risks and stand out.

And say something different.

That stand for something.

So my comments above are not about the similar font styles I don’t think.

They’re more about what this move to sameness might mean.

I hope it does not mean that these brands are becoming followers instead of leaders.

I am actually exploring a similar simplification of the Always Wear Red logo because we are less ‘luxury’ and more ‘premium contemporary.’

So a simpler look feels right to me.

But I will never lose the risk and the adventure behind the brand.

Because I love all that.

And I think our expanding customer base do too.

I love creativity.

And adventure.

I also want to think about the strategic reasons – for me – why I might change the logo.

Because – just so you know – logo design is a primarily strategic and not an aesthetic decision at all.

I’ll go into that more in another story.

Here’s a ‘Business of Fashion’ article highlighting the similarities between these fashion super brands:

https://www.businessoffashion.com/articles/opinion/the-revolution-will-not-be-serifised-why-every-luxury-brands-logo-looks-the-same-burberry-balmain-balenciaga

When I was younger (easy to imagine) and dafter (hard to imagine) than I am now – I used to teach people about marketing.

People wanting to start their own business mostly.

Or people wanting to grown their own business.

It was my job to help them.

Marketing.

One of the things I used to say about marketing, way back in the middle of the 90’s was this:

If you get good at marketing, you are what you say you are.

Unless you’re not.

I knew what I meant.

It’s my definition of marketing.

It’s not the whole of marketing…

But it is a big part of it.

I was in my late 20s at the time, and probably a bit bored with the Chartered Institute of Marketing’s definition:

The management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements – profitably.

Their quote is probably more useful and holistic than mine.

But I still like my quote because it is a good reminder not to bullshit.

Bullshit.

Don’t exaggerate.

Or mask.

Or trick people.

Or fucking lie.

Think long term

Be authentic.

Be you.

Do something you genuinely love and that you are good at (or that you can get good at) or you’ll get fed up

Be consistent.

If you bullshit or you are a construct – you’ll get found out.

The dots won’t join up.

There will be gaps in your story and gaps in your offer and you’ll come across as a bullshitter.

Be a storyteller yes.

You have to be great at telling stories in business.

But the story has to be real.

Bullshit.

Coming across bullshit in a field is just as bad as coming across bullshit in business.

Why?

Because both occasions – it stinks.

Up.

When I was a boy, I looked up at people older than me and shook my head.

Because they didn’t understand my music.

Morrissey waving Gladiolas around is part of what he is, OK?

It’s fine.

I looked up at the oldies and winced.

When Morrissey wrote and sang about a ‘punctured bicycle on a hillside’, these are amongst the most stunning and poetic lyrics ever written.

And this:

Why pamper life’s complexity

When the leather runs smooth

On the passenger’s seat?

It’s just bloody perfect and unique and pure.

I remember looking up at the oldies and thinking – you just don’t understand.

Down.

Sometimes, I look down at people younger than me and shake my head.

Because they don’t understand my music.

Morrissey waving Gladiolas around is part of what he is OK?

It’s fine.

I look down at these young things and wince.

When Morrissey writes and sings about a punctured bicycle on a hillside, these are amongst the most stunning and poetic lyrics ever written.

And this:

Why pamper life’s complexity

When the leather runs smooth

On the passenger’s seat?

It’s just bloody perfect and unique and pure.

I look down at the young and think – you just don’t understand.

Here it is: https://www.50odd.co.uk/up-down/

3 days ago I created 1 post on LinkedIn.

It was 6 sentences long.

In under 2 days, this 1 post had been viewed over 100,000 times.

As I write, this is still rising at a rate of 200 views every minute.

CONSULTANTS THAT DO.

One of the businesses I run is called ANGELFYSH.

It’s a Brand Communication agency with a difference.

Every team member is three things:

  1. Deeply knowledgeable about tried and theories relating to their various specialisms.
  2. They have advised – at board level – some of the most significant brands in the world in their specialist areas.
  3. They have founded and grown brands of their own.

The first 2 things make us great.

The combination of all 3 things makes us unique.

Because wherever you’re going – between us all at ANGELFYSH – we’ve already been.

If you’re an ANGELFYSH client, you avoid the pitfalls and garner the windfalls.

The Difference. 

It is rare that I will use 50odd as a platform to tell you in detail about one of my businesses.

And whilst this is what I am doing here, there are two very important additional points – for anyone wishing to start or grow their own business.

Here they are:

  1. Have an Ownable Point Of Difference

Be unique. 

And make a promise.

ANGELFYSH are CONSULTANTS THAT DO.

That means we’ve been where you’re going.

So we can actually do what we’ve done for ourselves – for you.

2. Make Sure You Can Prove Your Promise.

Click here to see the LinkedIn post I’m referring to.

It had 100,000 views when I started writing.

As I finish, it has 102,000.

Still in under 2 days.

In a future post – I’ll tell you how I got so many wonderful people to join the conversation.

A Lifetime Guarantee is a promise. 

That something will last a lifetime. 

And it either will. 

Or it won’t.

Lifetime Guarantee. 

Here’s what I think you should do with anything you have that claims to have a Lifetime Guarantee…

Kick the shit out of it.

Use it. 

Bruise it.

Wear it… OUT! 

Share it. 

Stretch it. 

Test it.

Push it WAY beyond where you EVER imagined it’d cope. 

Why? 

Because you will get absolutely zero satisfaction, on your deathbed, if you squint across at your pristine leather jacket.

Hanging smartly on your wardrobe door.

With it’s Lifetime Guarantee certificate folded neatly in a pocket.

Then die.

Wear the fucking thing! 

And cook the hell out of that frying pan you have with it’s Lifetime Guarantee. 

Make crazy-beautiful flambéd meals that make your wallpaper, eyebrows and fringe turn dirty brown.

That make your friends scream that you’re fucking bonkers.

And that make the best goddam memories that any frying pan can.

Wear, wear, wear that belt or sweater until they twist and bend and bruise. 

The world’s greatest clothing makers can make clothes for anyone. 

But only you can make the clothing ‘yours’.

The point of a Lifetime Guarantee is NOT to give you the peace of mind that it’ll still be functioning when you die. 

It is a challenge!

WEAR!

IT!

OUT!

Because – and this is the real point of this story – there is only one thing you own that you know with absolute surety, has a lifetime guarantee.

And that’s you.

Now let’s see if we can wear the fucker out!

Imagine you’re hosting a dinner party.

And imagine you are sat at the head of a long table.

So you’re sat at one of the two short sides.

To your right, along one of the long sides of the table, sit 13 people in 13 chairs.

Another 13 sit in chairs to your left.

So there’s you.

And the twenty six.

The Twenty Six.

These twenty six people are rich.

In fact, you are sat at the head of a table that is housing the world’s richest 26 people.

13 to your right.

13 to your left.

Their wealth, just so you know, when added together comes to the same total as half of everybody else in the world.

The poorest half, that is.

So that’s 3,800,000,000 people.

3.8 Billion.

On the upside, you only had to send 13 invitations for this lot.

3.8 billion invitations to 3.8 billion people would have taken longer.

And whilst you may have chairs in the loft or in the spare room.

Some would have had to stand.

Party.

This is your party.

So you can chat about what you want.

You could, for example, chat about the fact that if your 13 guests all paid 1% more tax each – then every child in the world currently not in education could be schooled.

And there would be healthcare that would save 3 million certain deaths with what was left.

All of this, if funded now, could happen now.

If they agreed to this.

Which they probably wouldn’t.

Distaste.

I’d be off my food, I think.

And the party would be ruined.

I find such inequality distasteful.

Exactly what to do, I don’t know.

But I do know that better taxation consideration from better governments, would help.

I don’t know that all of my guests are greedy bastards.

But I imagine that some of them probably are.

And that many would not embrace a chat about taxation the same way that I would.

Especially if I opened the conversation by saying:

It’s amazing that you can get wine as nice as this for £7 a bottle isn’t it. We like it a lot. It’s almost as amazing as something I was reading at the Oxfam website last week. Did you know that the poorest 10% of Britons are paying a much higher effective tax rate than the richest 10%? 49% compared with 34% once taxes on consumption such as VAT are taken into account. What do you think about that, then? Garlic bread anyone?”

I’d be rubbish at this party, I think.

We’d have nothing in common.

After they’d left their gifts (which had better be bloody good) I might just ask them to leave.

Source:

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2019/jan/21/world-26-richest-people-own-as-much-as-poorest-50-per-cent-oxfam-report?utm_source=nextdraft&utm_medium=email

It is natural to feel sad that you didn’t meet that special someone sooner.

It is natural to feel sad that you didn’t start something, a business or a relationship for example, sooner.

And it is natural to feel sad that you didn’t end something, a business or a relationship for example, sooner.

However, it us unnatural to dwell on this notion so much that – now your time has come – you don’t embrace it or them with all you have.

1,000 Months. 

So in this 1,000 month life of ours, if we discover something or someone we love after lots of our months have been used – surely we should love it or them even more?

Because eventually.

Thank goodness.

They came.

This is a gift for your daughters.

From me.

It is, sadly, not a gift that I can gift to my lovely daughter.

Because I am her dad.

Daughters.

From what I have learned so far, and that is not that much because my daughter Izzy Willow is only 2, there is a very important gift that all daughters should be given.

Especially between the ages of 10 and 25.

It is:

Please – never worry about anyone else’s opinion on what you look like.

Following on from this, the gift includes:

Your difference is your power.

And:

Your beauty, though you don’t realise it yet, really is your above average sized nose – or your below average sized nose. Because real beauty comes from the extraordinary. Not the ordinary. Or the average. This is a theme that will recur throughout your life – in every part of it.

It is also valuable to help daughters understand how bullies work:

Bullies are lonely people. They know they are less good than you. They have to push those that are better than themselves down, because they don’t know how to lift themselves higher. That’s why the worst bullies tend to pick on the best people.

I think most daughters will be 25 by the time they start to realise these things.

And, maybe, 30 by the time they believe it.

For Your Daughters.

And as I said at the beginning, this is a gift from me, for your daughters.

Not my daughter.

Because just like your daughters won’t listen to you, Izobel won’t listen to me.

So if you see my Izobel, please tell her what I said.

(Just don’t tell her it was her dad that said it).

If you’re going to launch a business – join an existing conversation.

And make sure it’s a passionate and meaningful conversation.

Because the best conversations to join are about things that matter.

Conversation that matter lasts longer.

And so will your business.

Opinion.

So I hope the conversation that you join polarises people.

And I hope you have an opinion.

All great brands have an opinion.

And no great brand is for everyone.

The Right Kind of Conversation

If you have an idea for a business, think hard about the kind of conversation you join, though.

Right now there are conversations that matter going on all around you.

Conversations about:

  • Irresponsible use of plastics.
  • Bullying.
  • Suicides.
  • Isolation of the vulnerable and the old.
  • Gender equality.
  • Why people with disabilities are considered as an afterthought or a ‘problem’ (especially considering there are 11 million people in the UK with a disability).
  • Treating all people ethically and with kindness.
  • Homelessness.
  • Wealth distribution.
  • Global warming.
  • Fair pay and stable jobs for workers.
  • Buying British (if it makes sense to do so).
  • What beer or food actually tastes like.
  • Provenance/historically authentic approaches to making or doing.
  • Experiences that uplift and inspire and help people to be happier or a better version of themselves.
  • Addressing mental health issues.
  • Creating jobs.
  • Knowing where and how things are made.
  • How food can be a fuel to help you live better and longer.
  • Kinder, more ethical farming practices.
  • Buying better and buying less.
  • Making buying decisions for yourself, not because of what people that don’t really matter might think of you.

And there are of course a whole load of fickle and transient people, that don’t really know their own mind, having vacuous and stupid fucking conversations around:

  • How big my lips are (or aren’t).
  • What my dress looks like when I wear it and photograph it for my instagram page (before I take it back to the shop I bought it from).
  • How cheaply I can get something with zero consideration as to why it is so cheap.
  • Which beer gets you most pissed, most quickly.
  • etc.

These people rarely make loyal customers.

Because what they’re talking about doesn’t really matter.

These things may feel like they matter to some people at certain points in their lives.

But ultimately – they don’t.

Pretty soon, these people will seek out satisfaction of another transient need.

Until, one day, they will find a real need that really does matter to them.

Deep to their core.

And there they’ll stay.

The Rules.

Rule 1. Businesses spring life much more quickly when they join existing conversations.

Rule 2. The vast majority of those business will only last a long time and develop a loyal following when the conversation actually matters.

Rule 3. Think about the change you want to make with your business.

Rule 3 is your purpose.

Then – get on it!

If you get Rule 3 right – for you – there will never be a day you don’t bounce out of bed to deliver on the promise you’ve made.

I promise.