If you were ethical from the outset, GDPR is already done

I’ve been highly amused at the passive-aggressive tone of some of the GDPR related comms I’ve been receiving here at Delevine Towers.

The awful Myspace wannabe Reverb Nation flounced off an ultimatum worthy of a manipulative teenager. “It’s been too long since you logged in … In fact it’s been about two years since you used any of our powerful tools. This will be your last e-mail unless you log in.” To which I reply: “Buh-bye.”

“This is your last chance to connect,” warns an airline I have never flew with, who got my e-mail address from an online ticket broker and started spamming me. Buh-bye.

Elsewhere, whole forums of net-preneurs are pulling out their hair about the implications of GDPR-compliance.

But it’s very simple.

If you ran your permission marketing and privacy ethically from the outset, GDPR is already done. And if you’re worried — you’re why it was necessary.

The Coffee Subjugation

I’ve been sitting for 25 minutes at Soho Coffee Co in Bristol Airport. And here’s the thing: every single empty table is filthy.

Covered in the crumbs, unidentified liquids and waste packaging of the previous occupants.

I was surprised that the upscale-looking franchise (sandwich = £5.10) did not jump on this — after all it takes seconds to run a cloth over the table — and then I observed something.

Customers sitting down were so appalled by the mess that they were cleaning up before enjoying their own purchases.

And Soho had realised this was happening and figured out they did not need to hire someone on clean-up. The customers would do it for free as a result of horror/good citizenship.

Now …

There is a valid argument that it is not Soho Coffee’s job to clean up after lazy, messy, entitled consumers. After all, a self-service environment includes self-clean-up, right? Those who refuse to clean up after themselves are not really living in a civilisation.

But what happens when the behaviour of customers leads to a dirty food service environment? That’s when you have to weigh the moral high ground with food safety and customer experience.

So here’s the math:

Brand equity resides in the experience. Marketers call it the second moment of truth.

We can educate customers about how we’d like them to behave: McDonalds manages this. But in the long run, it doesn’t matter whether it’s the job of consumers or the job of the restaurant. If clean-up isn’t happening then you’re the filthy café. For a coffee franchise, clean-up is not an expense, it’s a marketing investment.

Extrapolate to all other under-the-bonnet jobs that add to the customer experience.

Turned out niche again

A writer friend announces he’s working on a history of game shows. Someone critiques: “A bit niche isn’t it? Wouldn’t your efforts be better spent writing a telly show?”

The implication is that, when a project is being pitched, the ultimate goal should be broad, populist approval. If the project can’t have mass appeal, then it should be abandoned and efforts reallocated to something that might.

It’s the model by which most arts funding operates and, crucially, the way UK book publishing has been running itself for the last couple of decades.


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Introducing the Delevine Freemium Bird-Feeder

It’s Christmas time so I put some free food out for the birds.

I say free—

The birds could get their beaks on the seeds only after agreeing to give me access to their list of family and friends, private bird photos, the GPS coordinates of their nests and control of their bird webcams and microphones.

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Gotcha marketing is over

But did anyone get the memo?

Two sales promotions caught my eye recently. One was from French retailer Relais, who offered “Your choice of sandwich plus any drink for 5,20€”. When the cashier asked me for 7,30€ I mentioned the offer and he pointed to some tiny print on the ad that basically said only one or two sandwiches were covered by the deal. It was “your choice*” — by which they meant: “our choice”. And the sandwiches actually included in the deal were not available on the shelf. Gotcha.

“It’s not illegal*,” the clerk said, apologetically. “But it’s not cool.”

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Why Google logo haters miss the point

A well-known company has only to change its logo in order to activate a flood of tired journalistic tropes.

First off is the “How much??” story, in which non-designers say the cost was ridiculous. “I’d have done it for a tenner,” says a man with Photoshop on his computer.

Then there are the hatchet jobs. Some are delivered by paid hacks whose editors have given them a hating brief and some are delivered by injured professional parties who insist they would have done a better job had they had landed the contract. I’m not sure which of these is worse.

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facebook,deal,new york times

Why the New York Times doesn’t need Facebook

Know the value of your assets. 

I was reading this article on TechCrunch about the New York Times making a deal to allow Facebook to “host” its “content” for free. And I had multiple problems.

The writer (Tom Goodwin, no less) asks:

“So does the New York times [sic] see this as free content marketing to gain subscribers, or as incremental advertising revenue? Only time will, and maybe they don’t even know?”

Once you’ve parsed that into English it seems very clear the NYT doesn’t have a clue. If it did, it would not be giving away its prize assets and brand equity to someone else.

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Branding is more than a logo

The art of selling with words

What is copywriting anyway? Isn’t it just about basic grammar?

No. Many people are confused about what copywriting is. Perhaps it’s the word writing that muddles things up. The moment you say writing, people assume it’s all about using pretty words and correcting grammar. These things do count. But that is only a fraction of the story. Copywriting is about selling with words.

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