Strategy in Praxis
The Gravity of e-Commerce
Strategy in Polemy
The Key to Winning in E-commerce: Final Mile Optimization
August 10, 2021
TL;DR: the first summary (in a series of three) of a white paper written together with James Hankins on the financial reality of e-commerce and its strategic implications.
Marc Pritchard Knows Better Than to Believe P&G Can Act Like a Startup
April 7, 2021
TL;DR: while big brands can take advantage of emergent methods, arguing that they should act like startups is nonsensical.
As Burger King’s IWD Ad Proves, It Is Time to Take Action on Inclusion
March 11, 2021
TL;DR: marketing leaders love to celebrate those who make it against all odds, but nothing is done to improve the odds of others like them making it.
Marketing Strategy Can Be Neither Wholly Planned nor Wholly Agile
February 5, 2021
TL;DR: strategy needs to be a contextually determined balance of optionality and obligation between deliberate and emergent approaches.
What Marketers Can Learn from the US Election (No, Really)
November 9, 2020
TL;DR: if marketers are to continue to be the voice of the consumer, sooner or later they will have to come to terms with who that consumer is.
If You Want a Bigger Marketing Budget, Focus on Creating Cash Flows
October 19, 2020
TL;DR: marketing should reframe its function around the creation of future cash flows at rates of return that exceed the organizational cost of capital.
Mark Read’s Ageist Remarks Point to a More Worrying Problem for WPP
September 3, 2020
TL;DR: agencies and consultancies would do better to focus on improving rate ROI by increasing the nominator than by attempting to lower the denominator.
Aviation Gin Does Not Offer a Blueprint on How to Build a Brand
August 19, 2020
TL;DR: market complexity ensures that the celebrity-led gin’s supposed path to success cannot be replicated.
Target Customers’ Big Similarities, Not Their Little Differences
August 4, 2020
TL;DR: though the psychological roots of narcissistic segmentation run deep, efforts are often better being additive than reductive.
There Are No One-Size-Fits-All Answers for Getting Through the Pandemic
May 11, 2020
TL;DR: despite columnists’ repeated claims to the contrary, there are no context-free rules in a context-specific world.
Businesses Need to Ensure They Can Survive Today Before They Look Long-Term
April 16, 2020
TL;DR: deliberate strategic approaches with extended horizons are rendered irrelevant the moment companies go into survival mode.
The Strategic Case for Diversity
January 29, 2020
TL;DR: diversity of thought is a prerequisite not merely for management of complex problems, but also commonly the prevention of strategic predictability.
Big Brands Must Not Play the Startup Game
October 30, 2019
TL;DR: key contextual factors and game theory demonstrate the folly of attempting to emulate organizations that are in different life-cycle stages to that of the company.
Efficiency Will Trump Effectiveness Until Success Is Better Measured
August 19, 2019
TL;DR: companies, typically by industry instruction, too often end up pouring money into areas where even extraordinarily successful performance has minimal impact on overall business results.
Short-Term Targets Create Perverse Incentives that Hurt Businesses
April 11, 2019
TL;DR: organizations need to balance short- and long-term objectives, as they are fundamentally different in nature, and avoid Goodhart’s Law.
We Can’t Guarantee Success, Only Increase Its Probability
February 22, 2019
TL;DR: analytical issues arise when strategists start by looking at dependent variables and then attempt to reverse-engineer the independent variables.
Stephen Bungay: A Critique
The Agilist, February 2, 2022
TL;DR: strategic intent provides a crucial starting point, yet overly rigid calls for alignment drastically limits its practical use while increasing defensive decision-making.
The Importance of a Strategic Effectiveness Framework
The IPA EffectivenessWorks, September 12, 2018
TL;DR: despite calls for universality, any marketing effectiveness undertaking must start with the unique context of the company.
The Absurdity of Brand Purpose
The Drum, August 31, 2018
TL;DR: the need to find a higher purpose where none exists or is needed is, as Albert Camus explained, a human issue, not a strategic one.
A Riposte to ‘David Ogilvy Must Die’
The Drum, January 25, 2018
TL;DR: although the world changes, fundamental truths in marketing and advertising seldom do. Unsubstantiated claims to the contrary made up to sell consultancy services should not be taken seriously.