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The first 20 seconds of this song are silent.

It’s the kind of thing Mark did.

And since Mark died in February 2019.

No music quite like this will ever be made again.

I imagine his two sons listening to this.

Feeling proud.

Forget our fate
The pedlar sings
Set up to sell my soul
I’ve lived a life for wealth to bring
And yet I’ll gaze
The colour of spring
Immerse in that one moment
Left in love with everything
Soar the bridges
That I burnt before
One song among us all
Soar the bridges
That I burnt before
One song among us all

Here: https://www.50odd.co.uk/silent

 

I still find it so, so flattering.

When anybody.

Anytime.

Buys anything from any brand I’ve ever built.

Humbling.

The feeling I had with that very last sale.

Just a moment ago.

It’s the exact same feeling I had with the very first sale.

Humbling.

I help six business a year.

As a brand consultant.

I like working with businesses I like.

Businesses that are focussed on making change that they.

And I.

Believe in.

And about six businesses each year does me just fine.

Brand Consultant.

I’m very good at being a brand consultant, actually.

I’ve been helping businesses for 25 years.

I’ve built ten meaningful brands of my own.

I’ve worked with some of the greatest brand brains around.

But that doesn’t mean I’m great for everyone, of course.

Because just like there’s more than one way for a football team to win a football match.

There’s more than one way for a business leader to win at business.

Taking a brand-driven approach is just one way.

And narrower still.

Taking my brand-driven approach is different again.

Brand Consultants and Football Teams. 

I’ll always tell you what I think you should do.

And why.

But whether you do it or not.

And exactly how you do it.

That’s up to you.

Klopp’s Liverpool.

Fergusson’s Manchester United.

Mourinho’s Chelsea.

They all played football.

They all won the Premiership.

But they all won it in their own way.

Bravely.

The way that I choose to build brand is clear.

In a word, it’s:

Bravely.

Because braver brands are much more likely to be noticed.

They are much more likely to be remembered.

And they are much more likely to be chosen.

Boring, Boring Business.

Business is largely boring, to me.

Businesses colour their logos in the same way as the businesses around them.

Businesses name themselves in the same way as the businesses around them.

Businesses speak in the same way as the businesses around them.

Then they wonder why they’re neither noticed.

Remembered.

Or chosen.

Hmmm.

Building Braver Brands.

Of course, if you are going to be different.

(And you should be different.

That’s not negotiable).

You need to know how to be different.

And that’s where I come in.

But just like there’s more than one way for a football team to win a football match.

There’s more than one way for a business leader to win at business.

Taking a brand-driven approach is just one way.

And narrower still.

Taking my brand-driven approach is different again.

Anyhow.

Whether you work with me or just listen to me and take my advice.

Be braver.

Build a braver brand.

Plan from tomorrow.

And start soon.

You’ll be glad you did.

The worst way I measure my time.

Is by how much money it can earn me.

Which is strange.

Because in all of my 30’s.

And most of my 40’s.

I did very little else.

The Journey.

Look.

I get it.

Working and saving.

But not too much.

Not all the time.

Because when we’re working and saving.

We’re focussing on the fuel.

And it’s not the fuel that matters most.

It’s not the fuel that we remember.

It’s not the fuel we love.

It’s the journeys.

Those mornings when I pour whole coffee beans straight into the cafetière.

Sending a hundred of them clitter-clattering against the glass.

Or ricocheting like little brown bullets beneath the microwave.

Bypassing the coffee grinder completely.

I need to avoid mornings like that.

Mornings like that are not good for me.

Beans.

I freeze when this happens.

The coffee bean thing.

I freeze like a statue.

Staring first at the mis-housed beans.

Staring second at the bag I poured the beans from.

As I hold the bag static.

Chest high.

In disbelief.

I need to avoid mornings like that.

Mornings like that are not good for me.

Split. 

It feel split in two whenever this happens.

The coffee bean thing.

I feel split between being in the kitchen.

Fucking up coffee.

And somewhere else quite different.

Worrying, no doubt.

Drifting off.

Overthinking a money thing.

Or a house thing.

Or an Izobel thing.

I need to avoid mornings like that.

Mornings like that are not good for me.

Funny. 

The scenario itself is funny, of course.

Me swearing.

Growling under my breath.

Squeezing fat, clumsy finger-tweasers into vessels and under toasters to get the whole beans back to the coffee grinder to meet their crumbly demise.

But why it happened is not funny.

Because to fully enjoy my coffee.

I need to concentrate on coffee.

Thinking only of coffee.

Smelling only coffee.

Tasting only coffee.

Not polluting the all-important multi-sensory minutiae with uninvited troublesome thoughts.

I need to avoid mornings like that.

Mornings like that are not good for me.

I get Jenny Curran.

I understand.

Jenny Curran.

I get Jenny Curran.

Because I myself am sometimes like Jenny Curran.

Frustrated by my own limitations.

Excited by the unknown.

Convinced I’m missing out.

Convinced I can do better.

Convinced I deserve better.

Attracted to danger.

Self-destructive, even.

Prone to ruining what I have.

Even when knowing what I have.

Is the best that I have ever had.

I get Jenny Curran.

Because I myself am sometimes like Jenny Curran.

All Bad.

No one is all bad though.

I am kind and loving.

Clear minded.

Interesting and warm, I’m told.

Fun, bright and engaging from time to time, too.

As was Jenny.

And these are some of the reasons why.

Despite her faults.

From the day she went away.

To the day she eventually decided to come home.

Forrest loved her.

A few weeks ago.

I wrote  this story.

Called, ‘Dreaming of ASDA’.

Give it a click for a reminder:

DREAMING OF ASDA.

It’s a nice little story about my 4 year old daughter Izobel.

And the hero of the story.

Was ASDA.

ASDA.

I posted the original story on Linkedin.

Initially, 5,000 people had a read.

And one nice chap suggested tagging ASDA in the story.

To see if they were listening.

To see if they’d do something nice for Izobel.

Because Izobel had said something nice about them.

Lovely Idea.

What a lovely idea!

A chance for ASDA to listen.

A chance for Izobel to get a nice thing.

A chance for 5,000 to 10,000 people to read about ASDA listening to an ASDA customer.

A chance for 5,000 to 10,000 people to read about ASDA doing a nice thing for Izobel.

A 4 year old ASDA customer.

What a lovely idea!

Huge.

ASDA is huge.

Their annual sales are about 22 billion pounds.

The supermarket category in the UK is huge.

Annual sales for the category are about 200 billion pounds.

And it’s so competitive!

Small margins.

Gigantic volume.

Little things can make a big difference.

I don’t envy all of that hard work.

But I still don’t think it’s an excuse for brands not to listen.

Listen.

This is not about Izobel.

It’s about listening.

And a reminder to all brands.

Big and small.

That of course communication and connection is important.

Of course advertising and strategising is important.

But it’s not as important as listening.

Because ASDA not taking the time to listen to the story if one little girl.

Means that instead of (now about) 20,000 people reading about how ASDA have a great ear for their customers.

Instead of that.

About 20,000 people are reading about how they don’t.

Nowadays.

On my worst days.

It feels like I’m walking the plank.

Really, it does.

It’s not a pantomime piratey feeling, though.

It’s not that jolly.

It’s not that dramatic.

It’s not that colourful.

It’s not that storyful.

It’s just a feeling.

A sad feeling.

A calm, silent and personal feeling.

Inside.

On my worst days.

It feels like I’m walking the plank.

Really, it does.

Being 50odd has to have something to do with this feeling.

Because when I was younger.

I never felt like this.

I never felt like I do nowadays.

On my worst days

Like I am walking the plank.

I smile.

As I walk this plank.

It is not a happy smile, though.

It is a smile of resignation.

As I resign myself to the fact that this plank I walk.

It will end.

I resign myself to this.

And the fact I don’t know when.

Nowadays.

On my worst days

It feels like I’m walking the plank.

Really, it does.