Friday 23 February 2018

How the pros manage the cons

'Mermaid' Holly Keating announcing National Fish & Chips Day
'Mermaid' Holly Keating announcing National Fish & Chips Day
Irish Marketing Institute Pat Stephenson, Adam Morgan and Mark Nolan
Oliver callan

Michael Cullen

Constraints get a bad rap because they are seen as restricting business. But marketers can become more resourceful by figuring out how to turn their limitations into advantages, British marketing consultant Adam Morgan says.

The man credited with inventing challenger brand thinking was speaking at a Marketing Society breakfast seminar in the Marker Hotel for the launch of his new book, 'A Beautiful Constraint'.

Morgan says making a constraint beautiful is about seeing it as an opportunity. Like Robin Williams espoused in 'Dead Poets' Society', marketers need to seize the day. Bolstered by social science research, the book's co-authors, Morgan and Mark Barden, base their findings on interviews with not just marketers, but people from such diverse areas as the supply chain, race car engineering, design, agriculture and education. What they have in common is a talent to turn apparent business constraints into possibilities and advantages.

Marketers can find themselves constrained by time. US designer and film director Tom Ford, who won applause for his turnaround of Gucci, describes fashion shows as "filmic". But when supermodels take to the catwalk, Ford has just 13 minutes to win over an audience. Boom! Act one! Ford insisted on getting the entire audience breathing in and exhaling out at the same time.

Instead of lowering his ambition for the catwalk, Ford raised it. Google's homepage is as simple as it is thanks to the extent of Larry Page's technical knowledge at the time. Budget constraints are an everyday business challenge. As the inimitable bedroom furniture salesman Mattress Mick remarked: "I had to be creative because I didn't have big budgets." The first version of the old American expression "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade" dates back to 1915. Yet, in the intervening years, no one has sat down to write down a sequel to the saying: what the recipe for making lemonade might actually be.

Southwest Airlines - on which Ryanair models itself - faced a constraint of resource in the 1970s when it had to sell one of its four planes, and still fly four routes with three planes. The challenge led it to a time constraint. The solution was a 10-minute turnaround.

All the arriving passengers and luggage had to be off-loaded, the plane cleaned and then get the departing passengers and their bags on within 10 minutes - when the average US domestic airline turnaround time was an hour.

One way Southwest overcame the new constraint was unallocated seating. The budget airline won new customers, including passengers who were chuffed not have to wait around on the tarmac. Pictured at the Marketing Society talk were Pat Stephenson, Boys and Girls, Adam Morgan and Mark Nolan, Ignite Research.

* Despite speculation to the contrary, Tesco Ireland is not asking local agencies to pitch for its media account currently with Initiative Dublin, a spokesperson for the supermarket giant has confirmed. Tesco invited WPP's MediaCom and m/Six - jointly owned by WPP's GroupM and Chi & Partners - to make presentations, along with the incumbent, Initiative UK.

Tesco Ireland moved its creative advertising from Target McConnells to Rothco last month. The move follows Tesco UK hiring Bartle Bogle Hegarty (BBH) to handle its creative work, in place of Wieden + Kennedy. Tesco saw its market share in Ireland dip from just short of 26pc to 24.7pc in Kantar Worldpanel's first quarter of the year survey.

* Fish 'n' chips are a welcome treat for lots of people. Six years ago the descendants of immigrants who came to Ireland from Val Di Comino in southern Italy in the 1880s got together to launch National Fish & Chips Day. The idea was to offer half price 'one-and-one' takeaways for one day of the year in chippers. So the Irish Traditional Italian Chippers Association (ITICA) - with famous names like Borza, Macari and Cervi - is again urging consumers to 'fish 'n' chip it' on May 27. Model Holly Keating, above, poses as a mermaid to get ITICA's message across.

* As RTE and independent radio broadcasters finally launch a universal app for all 43 stations in the Republic, the call for entries for this year's PPI Radio Awards is out. A new comedy category has been added, so we can expect Oliver Callan, left, and his Callan's Kicks to go head-to-head with former colleague Mario Rosenstock and his slot on Ian Dempsey's breakfast show on Today FM. The PPI wants all entries in by July 4. The awards show is in the Radisson Blu hotel in Galway on Friday, October 9.

Michael Cullen is editor of

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