Archive for July, 2008

Career benefits of blogging?

It’s a matter of six months since I was enthused by Joseph Jaffe at a conference in London to get a grip of new media and address my concerns about being left behind as marketing and communications moved on. Since then I have become a daily listener to podcasts (see list of favourites to right), an avid reader of various blogs, have a LinkedIn profile which is 100% complete, got to grips with Twitter and Friendfeed and took the next big step into the world of WordPress and blogging.
I am now of a view that my profile online is far more complete than any CV. It is both constantly up to date and includes references, creative input and more personality than those two pages of A4 could ever do.
Seth Godin’s post earlier this year ‘Why bother having a resume?’ was more black and white. But the thought is not wrong. How much more an employer could find out about me from looking on the web.
Already we have certainly moved from mailing CV’s in a crisp C4 envelope to e-mailing them either directly to the company or to recruitment sites. It feels somewhat impersonal now. The ‘Bermuda Triangle’ that is the recruiters in-box. Often no response is received. Sometimes you get an instant response saying that you are unsuitable…this can sometimes be within minutes of clicking the ‘send’ button. No way anyone could have read the attachment.
For those of us who are engaging in new media, and certainly in areas such as PR, Marketing, Communications, etc where the recruiter should be engaging, why not direct people to your blog?
Put yourself in the shoes of the recruiter…many of us are already. How would you respond if someone didn’t send a CV, just a link to a blog and LinkedIn profile? What would you do…click the reject button as they haven’t sent the requested CV, or engage with the candidate?
Thoughts welcome.


July 27, 2008 at 3:39 pm Leave a comment

Is commoditisation a state of mind?

In Seth Godin’s post ‘No such thing as price pressure’ he stated that companies are not selling a commodity unless they want to and they can address this by adding value to their products.

Though I agree with this in principle, is it not the case that with retailers adding value to own label products and buying at ‘near cost’ prices they are driving down the overall market value in many categories?

In the stationery market for example, major retailers are purchasing from the Far East, adding many features which are created using cheap manual labour and shipped in bulk. Major brands focus on sustainability of paper sources, quality and other valuable features but cannot hit the price-points to make the products viable in this environment due to the actions of the trade. It becomes more and more difficult for the brands to compete with own label offerings. So Seth’s comment that we are choosing to sell commodities as we aren’t adding enough value to products is not necessarily the case.

Are retailers and other intermediaries not damaging the long term value of their markets?

July 19, 2008 at 11:16 pm Leave a comment

Stationery v Stationary

It’s not difficult, but is frighteningly frequent for people wishing to enter the office products industry to apply by letter or e-mail or to arrive at interview with presentations spelling ‘stationery’ as if it is an immoveable beast (stationary). Attention to detail is critical in any job application or interview situation. If two people appear equal but one has paid more attention to detail…which one will get the job? Worth a thought…if in doubt, check your spelling. No-one likes the inference that their market is going nowhere. Stationery is far from stationary.

July 14, 2008 at 10:04 pm 1 comment

FIR Live to cover career challenges facing those outside the fishbowl

On July 26th, the FIR Podcast by Shel Holts & Neville Hobson will be covering the subject of my last blog, ‘The technology continuum’ in a live call-in show. The discussion which can be heard live on BlogTalkRadio or downloaded from iTunes after the show, will look at the challenges that communicators and marketers may face if they do not keep up to date and the potential career impact of keeping their head in the sand.
Check out the details at .

July 11, 2008 at 10:29 pm Leave a comment

The technology continuum

At the Digital Strategy Meeting run by IBDG at the Millennium Gloucester Hotel last week, Richard Mound, Associate Partner for Collaborative Innovation and Social Networking within IBM Global Business Services took the stage. He showed a continuum from the early 1990’s to the present day indicating the collaborative capabilities of their business. A truly fascinating presentation that would put many companies (my own included) in the late 1990’s/very early 2000’s!
In a previous post on this blog, I challenged marketers that with the current pace of change, they would be potentially unemployable within five or so years. But if there is really such a difference between a successful medium sized company and IBM in the year 2008, over what timescales are the changes in communication really going to become an issue to the majority of marketers and communicators who don’t keep abreast of new developments?

July 5, 2008 at 3:40 pm 1 comment

Technology meets paper-based stationery

New and exciting opportunities are opening up within the world of paper-based stationery as technology meets tradition. Paper and pen are an intuitive way to communicate for many. So why do some reject this industry as a static or unexciting market. Just look at recent developments…developments in the form of digital paper.

Admitting personal involvement in this project, but wanting to use it as an example to prove a point, Papershow from Oxford is a hugely exciting development in the presentation and conferencing arena which really shows how exciting and innovative the market can be.

Using Anoto technology, the pen is used to write on paper which features a special almost invisible dot pattern. The pen streams the writing via Bluetooth to a USB key plugged into the laptop, projecting handwritten notes to the plasma or projection screen. This allows you both to have a digital flipchart with added functionality, and annotate a standard PowerPoint presentation during a meeting. It also means you can e-mail the final output direct from your PC following the meeting with all actions and additions captured during the meeting.

Have a look at and I challenge people who are concerned about entering the stationery industry to criticise this as an innovation and not see the future potential applications for this product.  There are many other innnovation opportunities.Write it. Show it.

July 2, 2008 at 8:44 pm Leave a comment

Is stationery really moving?

In this new and ever changing world of social media, communities and Web 2.0, it’s interesting to look at how the stationery industry is responding. There are few companies that have really made a move to capitalise on the opportunities that are available to them.

In fact, marketers in general do not seem to be grasping the need to update their skills – the risk being that in my view within five years or so, many of these marketers may be unemployable.

Why is the area of social media so important? Just look at the standard customer complaints procedure. Once a letter to the CEO was about as bad as it got…and in the most public of cases a mention on ‘Watchdog’ would prevail. Now, many will bypass the company as the first port of call, and blog about the experience – accessible to many millions and reinforced by supporting links from other outraged bloggers who want justice for the consumer.  Despite refering some cases to the company concerned, unsatisfactory outcomes further anger customers, resulting in posts such as Delta Skelter from Joseph Jaffe of Jaffe Juice fame.

If marketers aren’t engaged in the reputation of their business, their roles will be short-lived.

A recent round of interviews I conducted for senior marketers showed a pitiful array of responses to the question ‘In what ways are you and your business engaging with new media?’. These people weren’t from the stationery industry but FMCG and PC gaming to name but two areas. One respondent even replied that they were thinking of doing some roadshows!

Is it really short-sighted to not get engaged? How long can marketers continue in the oblivion of broadcast media and direct mail?

July 1, 2008 at 5:24 pm Leave a comment

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