Blog marketing

Anonymous Textline Failure?

Last year I set up Focus, which is a dedicated company culture and company strategy consultant. 

My mission is to: fix the broken world of work. 


Many people have had negative experiences in business and they typically come down to two key elements, the workplace and the people. Unfortunately, businesses just don’t have the time or right management in place to address these issues.

I have worked in:

  • The best environments where you feel empowered and you win every day.
  • The worst toxic cultures and you feel helpless and no one should feel like that at work.

In most businesses, the more senior you become, the more disconnected you tend to become from the day-to-day. 

What people are feeling, what they are doing and what hurdles they are facing. 

In some instances, I was lucky to be close enough to colleagues to hear what the issues were, what problems they were encountering and how the team were feeling. 

No one is ever trained or prepared to be a business leader and fix every problem.

It is important to call out I love coaching and mentoring and part of the deal when you continue to help ex colleagues after leaving is you become known to provide “therapy” to colleagues years after leaving. 

🧠 Brainwave 🚀 or Brain Fart 💨 ?

In a brainwave, during the first lockdown, I mapped out issues people faced, from the most junior to the most senior members of companies. 

The most common issue that kept coming back in my spider diagram was the leadership and important decision-makers were “too busy”, too unapproachable or disconnected from the day to day to understand that the strategy was broken or the culture was failing. 

The business person in me knew there was an opportunity to help junior to senior members of companies with an anonymous way of getting in touch with me.
No one junior to mid-levels wants to email from their work email address that their company has issues and could be traced back. 

Often senior leaders do not want to be the first person to speak up or speak out against the consensus, sad but true. 

More than an unanswered agenda item

Even more common, sadly, company culture and strategy are agenda items on the ELT agenda or the MT agenda, they are often nudged down or deprioritised while firefighting other issues.

The Marketer in my head kept suggesting that people will want to contact the right person or people to help, particularly with company culture, so I created the anonymous textline, (a simple process really I brought a new virtual number, added to my mobile), where I do not use the name or number of the person who has reached out but some unique identifier and enough background to highlight the issue and the company would benefit from listening and creating conversation around the issues they were facing. 

I promoted out as a content marketing rather than advertising, I promoted via my newsletters, I tweeted, I shared on LinkedIn, I shared to industry leaders and waited for the flood of texts to come in. 

The flood never came. 

The honest truth, I have received 3 text messages in nine months:

  • One was too early for the company to tackle
  • Another was an agency that needs help but cannot sign off the budget due to corona
  • And the other wanted me to cold call without any information as they were in a unique place at the company. 

Why this story?

Some times the best idea even with decent distribution can be too early especially in a pandemic while everyone is just keeping their heads above the (troubled business) water, it can be too subtle, it can be mistimed or misplaced or it can be too easy for people to reach out for help.
Sometimes friction does help.

Or potentially a good idea needs to be made great by investing huge amount of paid advertising behind it to make it hit the critical mass. 

In life you can hit home runs, more regularly you have to stop, review, tweak and go again. 

In marketing and growth being prepared to go a few more rounds helps you standout and win vs other competitors who are short term thinkers, so the lesson is to deliver a great product offering or feature, be prepared to tweak, test and iterate and iterate again

So yes, the above actions is what I am going to do. 

I live, learn and hopefully going to liberate a number of company’s struggling.

FWIW: The anonymous textline number is +447480064060

Blog growth

X of Y

Back in 2014, I was helping brands with their Marketing, typically either auditing existing teams and activities or helped to build our their department and work with teams on workshops and developing long term campaigns.

In a recent googlemail search, I came across a deck I ran through and worked with a large travel company.

The sign that it was a good deck, you could still reuse the majority of the slides.

A go to popular slide that really stood the test of time was:

FWIW: The content matters – my slides are much better designed today 😉

You Have To Be

  • “Kings of content”
  • “Queens of data” 
  • “Chiefs of engagement” 
  • “Leaders of common sense” 
  • “Presidents of user signals”
  • “CEO of Personalised Marketing” 

It dawned on me that these are still true, over the last two years we have slowly seen every brand become a media company, some are media first others are product first with (content) media building trust and audience.

I thought it would be an interesting exercise to review these statements and tweak for 2021.

“Kings of Content” – still true, could be improved with rich media.

“Queens of data” – still true and going to continue to be. The question of needing more internal data vs using external data will be the debate for many businesses moving forward.

“Chiefs of engagement” – still true and requires more handholding and more great content and one to one engagement versus one to many as it was back in 2014.

“Leaders of common sense” – still true and actually should be doubled down on much more now than before. Particularly with the rise of personal brands and multiple brands within businesses.

“Presidents of user signals”“Presidents Of User Intent” still true however could be improved to user intent. User signals were more specific to the requirement to SEO first businesses in 2014, today intent is a much better metric, signals are still a vital part of the funnel or loop.

“CEO of Personalised Marketing” – still true, however, in today’s world we are now living in an over personalised marketing landscape, this could be improved and optimised to CEO of marketing personally.

NEW: Masters of Distribution – By far the area of marketing and growth that is grossly misunderstood and still too spray and pray versus being more intentional and deliberate in tracking and optimising for the user and each user. This is not easy but the data and tools are available to make the best distribution action plan at a personal level.

Any new product or a product that is winning in 2021 has three components:
1/ User brings their network and creates a must use narrative,
2/ We serve you great & right content – you will share this to your closest friends and family (one to one or one to few) not blast (vs one to everyone) which brings a recommendation referral to the product or service
3/ This product is going to replace one very clear activity or action – we know our audience doesn’t need millions of tools, or one master tool we need one tool that does something brilliantly and bundles or unbundles current below par products.

NEW: Customer Champion – We live in a time of customer power and empowerment. Are we doing enough to market to our customer at the right time for them, on the best channel for them when it is convenient for them? This is the question to answer in 2021 as reducing churn and driving repeat usage, repeat purchases (retention) as we come out of this cycle.

This all means there is a lot of work to do but core principles you can follow and the problems you can answer for you and your customers.

On your next campaign or pitch, consider these statements and build towards making you the Kings of content, Queens of data, Chiefs of engagement, Leaders of common sense, Presidents of user signals, CEO of Personalised Marketing, master of distribution and customer champion.

Important Related Reads To Improve Your Marketing & Growth

In “marketing is” I break down the 9 actions you have to think about to deliver a great campaign.

In the 9p’s Problem, Pick, Plan, Prepare, Predict, Present, Preview, Prove, Proof I offer the steps you need to go through to build out the right process to help internal stakeholders buy into your marketing efforts and succeed as a marketing and growth leader.

If you would like to understand where you are in the brand hierarchy or brand class system read the 7 brand classes.

Blog marketing The Future Of Marketing

The Future Of Marketing – Peloton & Inspired Connected Fitness

As part of the Future Of Marketing series, I took a closer look at Peloton and how they built and developed much more than a product or a series of products, they recreate the brand, the luxury fitness at home category.

Here are the slides from the broader presentation:

  • Fitness was first mover in affluent communities

Connected High End Fitness Trend

Fitness has always had connotations to more affluent communities, fitness is expensive, gyms membership, personal trainers, work at home equipment are all expensive options.

Peloton – Leader of the Pack

Peloton has been clear from the moment they launched they were for the high-end fitness fan.

So, here are the learnings you can apply from connected fitness and more specifically.

Community Member Living, Breathing, Touching & Sweating Peloton

I created Jess as a persona you can connect with:

Peloton community member "Jess"
  • Jess Loves connecting with people safely and as an introvert, she can work out from her comfort area
  • Jess loves her Peloton, in her space
  • Working out in groups and working out realtime feels like something that keeps her going
  • Jess loves her instructors and connects with them on personal levels not just as her instructor – affinity is key
  • Jess is powered by beating her personal bests and sharing these achievements on her social media
  • Jess was convinced by her friends in their friend’s group chat to buy her bike and subscription – Peloton best growth tactic is friend gets friend, this is a considerable benefit Peloton gains from their business and performance model. Joining an active network or growing one makes a product experience far more
  • Jess is a huge advocate and convinced her friends to invest in Peloton, this is herding her friends not just referring them.

Instructors Are Celebrities

  • Peloton was deliberate with their instructors and turned them from instructors to influencers and celebrities.
  • Emma Lovewell is the original instructor and was part of the original Kickstarter campaign.
  • Instructors connect with millions of Peloton community by training them regularly, engaging with them in real-time (& on-demand) and working out in their homes, seeing their home, seeing them sweat with you are all levels of connection you wouldn’t get with other products.
  • Emma is also attempting to grow her own audience on YouTube, offering insights into her life away from fitness.
Emma Lovewell - Peloton Instructor Celebrity
Source of Info

Addictive Peloton

  • The Peloton community were looking for Pelotons in hotels to book and continue their fitness ritual their streak their status their Instagram update finding their place on the road.
  • When something is engineered to keep you as active and engaged as Peloton, Peloton lovers will do everything they can to continue their workouts (streaks) to stay involved and connected to the brand. Many search and seek out the physical Peloton product vs use the app.
    This is very smart and engineered.
  • Peloton also has app options so you can work out if you don’t have access to your equipment or are looking to work out and cannot afford their specific equipment.

Peloton & Connected Fitness

  • Peloton might not be the first or last but combining with the connected fitness space there are many more reasons to work out and expand the Peloton model
  • Boxing and combat-based fitness has grown exponentially and will continue to do so, Hykso and Fight Camp are just a few in this space that is doing well and connecting equipment tracking fitness
  • With the recent expansion from Zoom with onzoom their marketplace offering for PTs etc and Apple’s move with Fitness+ we will see an unbundling of fitness and see masterclasses from huge pro athletes and ex-pro’s who will love to connect and train with their audiences with inspirational brands.
Connected Fitness Options

The Future Of Fitness Is Shaping Hotels

Hotels will be the first to think about how to become more connected to their customers.

Prediction to leverage becoming:

  • Low-cost gyms
  • Flexible Gyms
  • Pop up venues
  • Flexible offices
  • Room-based restaurants
  • Hybrid conference venues etc

Inconvenient Truth

The truth be told the gym 🏋️‍♂️ was inconvenient like many other offline activities. 

We have however just moved our exercise & sharing habits online too. 

Peloton, Mirror etc are just the tip of the iceberg for offline moving online & having a celebrity instructor train you will be almost normal but only accessible for those who invest. 

Peloton have grown tribes and moved tribal habits into herding, herds of people bring others along with them on their fitness drive.
Why? Price, increased status, feels bigger & more important than a product

Apple fitness+ will be biggest & best athletes training you. Do not discount Apple coming into the space more aggressively and making their brand presence felt, especially with the first non apple produced product that aligns so well with Apple quality and branding.

Lessons To Learn From Peloton & Connected Fitness

1️⃣ Question to answer every year but essential in today’s market? 

  • Am I part of a habit 
  • Can we be part of a ritual 
  • Can we make it onto their lists 

Tribes & Herding

2️⃣ Tribes…

How people think of Tribes: The bond over common enemies.  

But Tribe typically means: 

  • Empathy
  • Meaning
  • Connection
  • Safety
  • Friendship

Tribal Nature 

  • Do I belong? – Yes and with the instructor, we get to know 
  • How can I belong to this? – With exercise & in their groups & leaderboard, it’s being a better you
  • Where do I go for this feeling? – And how do I continue with this feeling?

Why is this the future of marketing?

  • Affluent community = high spend, high renewal, will make their money work for the high priced fitness equipment
  • This is your equipment, it is worth over £3000 – it will take prime real estate in your house. Potentially the only item that will challenge the television for prime real estate in your house
  • The quality product works – a quality product is your best marketing and cheapest marketing campaign
  • The rider gets rider loop = referral loop of friend convinces friend to invest in to the Peloton ecosystem.
  • Social Gold – every ride is posted online and maximises the reach of the brand and leverages vanity as the sharing mechanism
  • Social media groups have really connected members and created a deeper community layer
  • The different option of classes makes it flexible and connective.
    Live classes – connection to the instructor and the other riders
    On-demand – makes the class flexible for you and enables you to connect to the instructor when you cannot be live
  • The instructors form connections with the riders, their backgrounds
  • The leaderboards feature is not unique but allows you to compete or compare yourself on your latest ride. It can be something you choose to review or choose to ignore.
  • Tribal communities connect at a deeper level, herding also happens with friends bringing friends to the product and then friends of friends joining and being able to compete
  • In the future when we return to travelling or having to visit other offices, Peloton and connected fitness members will seek out these devices to continue their streaks and fitness workouts.

Despite the recent issues with stock levels and keeping up with demand, Peloton have built a model many brands can replicate moving forward. Marketing, Growth and Product leads should use Peloton as a guide to affluent communities and addictive products and services.

Learn from their ads and the spoof ads

Original Ad

The Peloton Partnership with Beyoncé is genius

Brilliant Spoof Ad

Blog marketing The Future Of Marketing

The Future: Everything As A Billboard

In the recent The Future Of Marketing webinar I hosted, I recommended that we would see the future recycle a number of features and tactics we have experienced previously.

I made a number of recommendations where I broke down the future and how to capitalise on it. In The Future Of Marketing blog series, I will include blog posts, decks and rich media-based content to help inspire you and help shape your thoughts moving forward.

The wider larger concepts we will see are:

  • The shift towards interacting with items, objects and people differently
  • How there are going to be thousands of opportunities with objects becoming billboards
  • A new demand for how we see and interact with entertainment,
  • How we view and interact with “live as on-demand”
  • How we will see a huge shift and a new demand towards the third space – the experience space.

The everything as a theme came from how we will be inspired by reliving and re-introducing ourselves to experiences, to objects and

everything as a billboard

Here were the ways I suggested the attendees think and consider with build the future not reacting to it and being too late.

Everything As A

  • 🤳 Everything as a billboard 
  • Everything as contactless 
  • 🤯 Everything as experiences
  • 🤩 Everything as entertainment 
  • 👁 Everything on demand  

In the coming posts, I will share five ways to think about these concepts and how to consider using these in the future.

In this post, we will tackle 🤳 Everything As A Billboard and how to think around billboarding and refreshing the concept in the transitional period we will be experiencing until midway through 2022.

Here are five ways to look at opportunities in forms of billboards.

🤳 Everything As A Billboard 

1/ Walking Billboards

With limited activities, we are seeing a lot less stimulus in person, tote bags, clothes, food and drink packaging are all billboards.
Many brands lost Marketing opportunities when they removed free bags and were charging for brands, this was right for the environment, many brands missed out the second-order effect of this and did not see the risk and missed marketing opportunity.
Starbucks is still incredibly lucky they are open and have the ability to turn any walk into a billboard moment, consider how you leverage this with your brand and brand packaging in the near term future.

2/ Wearable Billboards

While everyone is using video screens to communicate and host events, an opportunity is to leverage what is in view… an example is what people wear, what their backgrounds are, what you make appear as a prop or how your logo appears. There are great opportunities in this, especially with QR codes etc.

3/ Leveraging View, Touch, Sharing Experiences

In the near future, we will see more shops, galleries and ‘normal everyday life happenings’ open up, these are huge potential moments for Marketing, Product and Growth teams.
Consider how your brand can stand out and can create touchpoints back in normalising times.
Bags were and are great adverts, viewing items, touching, feeling, eating all great opportunities and experiences to connect and leverage packaging as actionable and shareable billboards.

4/ Locational Billboards

Consider how you think about key locations where people will be walking, running and when possible eating outside, these are all opportunities to leverage billboard moments or create billboard moments. Leveraging locations will be smart but competitive, see how you can leverage this early and beat your competitors to the punch.

When we are comfortable to eat outside, there will be a number of opportunities to leverage billboards, think of outdoor spaces like sponsoring benches, communal areas, food packaging and working with local councils to offer sponsorship or development of local area’s. Local has been hyper-relevant to everyone, especially those who proactively decided to move out of cities or move further out of busy cities. Shop local will continue but convenience is always the factor that wins.

5/ Micro Moments

Can you offer something more compelling, more engaging, more rewarding with these micro-moments?
Leverage the mobile phone and AR to truly build connections and shareable billboards.

Billboards are not just static and basic adverts anymore, billboards are what you make of them…

More Inspiration Here


Filtering Agencies & Agency Criteria Framework

With over two decades in Marketing, Growth and Product leadership roles, you typically develop your own internal framework for filtering agencies or criteria you use when working through onboarding an agency.

This framework and series of questions are going to help you to filter through potential agencies and help to select your right partner for future success.


  • Internal skills gap – Are there skills gaps or missing knowledge where an external agency or consultant can set up and drive the business forward?
  • Headcount – Is there a headcount struggle? Are there restrictions on hiring or a need to keep headcount low? If yes, an agency might be the only way forward.
  • Agency fees – Does the agency charge much higher fees? Will the agency fees stay static?
  • Agency skills – Does the agency have unique skills or understanding of your market? Does the agency have the skills to fill the requirements?
  • Important Question: Will the external agency help to train and develop the skills gap within the team


  • Will the agency align with the team?
    – Important to understand upfront and use company culture and department subculture as a guide.
  • Will the agency team add value to the existing team?
    – This is important as a close working relationship will be important, especially if the agency is taking on acquisition.
  • Will the agency team or account team be able to ramp up within two work sessions?
    – Agency onboarding can be challenging, this should not take more than a couple of sessions to hit the ground running and improve numbers.
  • Can the agency own a line as if they were an internal team member?
    – Your trust of your agency should be on par with a new staff member, you are hiring for them to fill a role and objectives. If they will not own the stream of work, these are likely the wrong partners.
  • How good is the actual agency team vs the pitching team?
    – The pitch team often is very different to team working on your account, the account team is the fairer representation of the agency vs the pitching team. Ensure you virtually meet the account exec or manager throughout the pitch process.
  • How good is the account management?
    – If account management is poor or constantly reactive how will they address this?
  • An important question when you will rely on working closely with the new agency partner. Would I hire the account manager or director if they were available on the market?
    – If the answer is no, are you adding to the existing team? Are you improving the output of the team? Really dive into this the first few weeks of the relationship.
  • If there was a problem would they own it and let me know before I knew?
    – This is essential in teams of any size, you will want the agency partner to act like they are part of the team and owning the line. Ensure you manage expectations up front and list as a requirement.

Budget based

  • How much will it cost?
    – Cost should never be a surprise, especially with follow up pricing, extra charges or work that is outside of the retainer, these have to be called out up front.
  • Are they worth the extra vs another agency?
    – This is hard to judge unless you really ask the right questions and understand the output. Cheaper doesn’t mean more value, more expensive doesn’t mean better results. Understand the cost and value of both.
  • How much is their agency fees?
    – Fees can be complicated if not a flat retainer, if tools are extra, ensure you receive a full breakdown of costs and fees.

ROI based

  • Will there be a positive ROI? When does the agency suggest there will be ROI from their activity?
    – ROI is essential in almost all companies, especially with Marketing teams, ROI and ROAS can be mapped out. If your agency partner cannot predict this and map out according question are they worth working alongside.
  • How long before ROI vs how to maximise x?
    – ROI is important but if you are looking for an agency to maximise a different metric, are they going to be able to help you with these goals or KPI’s? An example would be in Marketing & Growth, would the agency work add benefit to amplify your message, distribute your message in a cost-effective way to an audience you don’t have access to? Will this then lead to better metrics?

Reporting Based

  • What type of reporting do they offer?
    – Does this answer the problems you are looking to solve? Is it telling you numbers vs insights of the campaign?
  • When do they report?
    – What are you looking for? Weekly, monthly, quarterly?
  • How do they report?
    – Automated report? Added commentary? A run through in person? Or a remote video with insights provided?
  • Will dashboards be repackaged as reports?
    – If yes, this is likely not the right agency partner?
  • How is their communication based around numbers and insights?
    – Does their insights add value? Or do they just turn numbers into %’s?
  • Passive reporting vs proactive reporting?
    – Is reporting an important area for the agency to add value? Do they proactively dig into the data and numbers to improve your relationship and numbers?


Does the agency have unique tools?
– Many agencies have a tech team or data team that build out unique tools, will these add value vs off the self tools?

Do they have any unique insights or tool kits that would help you excel?
– There are many tools and unique tools that can help you win, some agencies can offer completely unique insights with Analytics extensions, browser extensions and plug and play tools.

Other Important Questions To Ask:

Ask: How is the account team set up?

Ask: How regularly does the account team change?

Ask: When there is a problem or issues, how will you address these?

Ask: What are your working hours?

Ask: What is your ETA’s and turn around times?

Ask: How will you support us through annual leaves

Ask: Is anything bespoke we can benefit from?

Ask: How big you are and how important you will be for the budget you will be spending monthly.
Some agencies are set up to support you and help you thrive, others are set up to scale their agency, a scaling agency going through growth can underserve you as a client. Understand if price and retainer impact you as a client, many will not expect this question and the answer is important.

Your Next Recommended Read:

Blog marketing

Building Internal Relationships Advice & Tips

Following on from the recent Deepcrawl The New Era of SEO Automation Event, here are a number of pieces of advice to build relationships and ensure you and your business have cross functional success and improve your business performance.

General Advice

SEO is not new – so most developers are aware of the importance.
Recommended Action: Make SEO relevant to the developer and Product Manager (Or Project Manager).

If you experience big shifts or important updates, have open dashboards or reports where developers can see this easily.
Recommended Action: Let people develop their own understanding, their version of what’s happened and help them understand it from a revenue and then from an SEO POV. Search first can mislead others from how important it is to them, their team, the business.

Revenue Discussions

By knowing what % of the company revenue comes through SEO, you can easily be able to show the benefits of your required work.
Recommended Action: If SEO is low % it will be treated as such unless you have a relationship and prove growth. If mid to high % it will be taken extremely importantly with a good relationship.

Relationship is key to gain buy in.

C-Suite titles rarely want to get into long debates, especially when it comes to dark arts and unscientific like disciplines like SEO.
Recommended Action: Use exec summaries and highlight revenue impact and then ask for longer debate when they can make the time. Forcing time upon c-suite instantly creates a more difficult conversation.

Build relationships

SEO is often a team that is not always connected closely enough to the Marketing Department.
Recommended Action: You will need their support and buy-in – help to build relationships, help social teams understand the algorithmic shifts from search as a lot of these applies to social media and social teams see this happening every day.

Build relationships with Product Teams and Data teams. These will be really important partners moving forward and will be important gatekeepers in important business decisions made.
Recommended Action: Help to share knowledge and insights with these departments and collaborate moving forward.

Build relationships with development team or agencies, the more they see you and hear from you – the more affinity and trust they will have for you.

Decision Makers

Know who makes the decisions internally and the frameworks they use.
Recommended Action: Build and apply to their frameworks. Without this, you will be seen as taking their time or wasting the company budget.

Product teams are often the gatekeepers for decisions and speak on behalf of many teams
Recommended Action: Collaborate, develop their knowledge, share their language and fit into their goals. Making others internally famous is often the quickest way for buy in.

Clearest Communications

Speak without jargon
Recommended Action: Be with clarity and sanity, remove SEO jargon, the less many senior people will keep on track or support with a quick discussion.

If you are technical, never get into a coding debate with developers.

Documentation helps almost 95% of the time
Recommended Action: Share documentation – development teams are used to github and other platforms where documentation is standard

The way you communicate will make or break relationships early.

Coach & Develop

Offer lunch and learns or morning coffee sessions to help to offer teachings to those who are interested.

Looking for a help developing your company or internal teams? Get in contact below for advisory & interim coaching for CMO’s and CGO’s.


Vodcasts Vs Podcasts

Podcasts exploded in 2020, it is likely the third step change for podcasts.

1st Chapter:
The first was listening on the go on your desktop or your iPod.

2nd Chapter:
The second was around 2018 when there was an explosion in better bluetooth headphones (many suggest it was the AirPods that gave podcasts another explosion)

3rd Chapter:
The third, better tech, cheaper tech, actively choosing your own time while C19 happened.

Podcasts, in essence, are straightforward and simple tech, typically powered by public RSS and able to be syndicated across the world in a matter of minutes. Despite a more recent movement towards gated podcasts and private RSS feeds, we are seeing popularity spike.

Eyes Vs Ears

One point a few people have made is we are inundated with visual content (content for the eyes) but we can decide what goes into our ears (Aural content). Video requires two senses, audio tends to need only one.

Why Popular Now?

The joy of podcasts is often the conversation, the simplicity of Q&A and hearing people discuss topics as experts.

The audio space is expanding rapidly, voice notes, voice assistance, voice search, podcasts, vodcasts, music, radio, audiobooks (aka audible).

Podcast’s still divides people, you are either a podcast listener or you don’t like podcasts.

You will often know a podcaster as they will tell you or like me be able to recommend a podcast for any given topic. I can recommend numerous within seconds.

What Is Winning?

Daily’s and regular shows people can listen as episodes or look forward to, daily’s are based around the news or a very specific niche.
Daily’s are harder to create and require quick turnarounds vs longer editing times on longer shows. Charts like this will be a good guide

Vodcasts aka Video podcasts

Vodcasts grew massively across 2020, why? The technology shift, the ability to record and publish has never been so easy.

Why do we love vodcast?

It is how we are wired as humans, in 2020, we have had less interaction, but as humans we have a few safety measured baked into us to enable our survival. We look for cues, we look for how people interact and react and we feel a connection. These are all areas why vodcasts are having their moment.

Zoom for sure made it easier, but platforms like Instagram Live, YouTube, LinkedIn and Vimeo all made it almost frictionless to hit post and publish conversations between a few minutes and in other cases over two hours.

Business Casual Podcast – Gary Vee & Kinsey Grant

This is a great example of how what was a podcast has been turned into a vodcast by using tools like Zoom and Squadcasts.

Most known example: The Joe Rogan Experience is the most famous example of a vodcast, 2-3 hours of two people talking, moving over to Spotify is a clear sign of how popular a presenter and guest vodcast can be. Joe was smart in releasing it into snippet format, YouTube clips and also releasing the full audio version (podcast) for free.

FWIW: Spotify brought the exclusive licence to Joe Rogan’s podcast for north of $100m. It is Spotify’s most popular podcast but not everyone is happy about it, especially his fans. Exclusive is good for the podcasters/host not so good for the fans built on platforms.

Vodcast Over Podcast

Here is a brilliant example of when to put a vodcast out over a podcast. Rio Ferdinand appears on comedian and presenter Mo Gilligan’s podcast, you see the vibe, the energy and the connection when you watch this vs just listening.

Rio Ferdinand & Mo Gilligan Podcast

If you are looking to make the shift or start a few things to consider:

  • In-person interviews with multiple camera’s works well
  • Zoom can be messy if more than one talks at a time
  • Guests can find it hard to answer questions with a camera, I struggle to focus in on the little green dot vs consider my answer
  • Many creators or hosts struggle to edit so really consider if the quality is up there and right for a vodcast, video podcasts will be filtered in coming months, like almost everything, quality will beat quantity

Consider watching or listening to my recent appearance on Re:Signal’s zoom podcasts How to move from a specialist marketing disciple to CMO.

Re:Signal Podcast With Me & Kevin Gibbons

Three good recommended follow up reads on podcasts


The Brand Book 2021

2020 was difficult for everyone for many different reasons.

Some companies have excelled others unfortunately have struggled.

The world of brand and marketing has never been as challenging as it has today.

I wanted to help Brand Leaders, CMO’s and startup founders for the upcoming year and different battleground we are all entering.

I reached out to a number of smart brand leads and asked them a series of questions.

The contributors were: 

Harry Lang,  Sophie Greig,  Anna BrookJulia Rast, Simon Swan, Pierre Dadd 

The Brand Book 2021

The questions you will need to answer in 2021 post will allow you remove or download the worksheet for you to answer.

Download the Brand Book 2021

The Brand Book 2021 Quotes:

If you would like more important reads for success in 2021:

Blog marketing

How To Move From SEO Into A Senior Marketing Role Podcast

Kevin Gibbons from Re:Signal kindly asked me to join him on the Re:Signal podcast.

Kevin and I have known each other for over a decade and have a good flowing chat around:

  • My personal journey over two decades
  • How important SEO was to my career
  • How important SEO is even today for so many brands and for many more years
  • How search has evolved
  • Why digital on its own won’t work
  • How to establish the right team model and reinforce the right culture to get the best of people professionally and as important personally.
  • How you can move into a more digitally focused role or broaden out into a Head of Marketing, Director of or CMO / CGO role
  • How I’ve landed as an interim CMO and building out Focus, the company culture and strategy consultancy

Watch the full podcast

10 Tips To Make The Shift From SEO Into Marketing Management

  1. Learn the wider business as much as possible as soon as possible
    1. Don’t get stuck with knowing just what you think you influence
  2. Learn to move away from buzzwords – explain super simply and explain the importance of SEO
  3. Everyone’s opinion vs no opinion – Learn that bikeshedding is normal, when simple will have an opinion and when seems complicated or you are expert they will not have an opinion, doesn’t mean senior people are not interested
  4. Learn to deliver your updates in exec summary formats.
    1. Show your impact and report regularly
    2. No news doesn’t mean bad news
    3. If something happens or algorithms change, be prepared to say this is the plan moving forward – senior people want and remember
  5. 2020 has been brutal – understand SEO has always been long term plays, if there are short and midterm wins by ramping up activities step up and take on the challenge
  6. Captain and Champion approach – lunch and learns will really help internally, set them up
  7. Develop relationships with other marketing disciplines and work with product (learn the basics of product management and how they manage many difficult product launches and stakeholders)
  8. Understand what stage of the business your business is:
    Crawl – Walk – Run – Fly
  9. Look at learning other marketing disciplines – the more you learn and appreciate the better your SEO action plan can be and the more likely you are to take on more work
  10. Learn to forecast – SEO typically has to and aligns well with finance teams

Mentioned Content

Personal and Professional SWOT on the Focus Blog –

The Serena Williams coach episode to watch on Netflix

Sir Clive Woodward interview on The High Performance Podcast

Blog marketing

Giving Your Team Members Their Stage

In my work with Focus, I speak to a number of company leads, department heads and Heads of. I am asked a number of questions, I tend to bucket each question into a category or a theme.

One recurring theme is “How do I get the most out of my team?”.
The answer is not it depends, it is:

  • How well do you know your team?
  • What is your team members stage?

How Well Do You Know Your Team?

How well do you know your team should be straight forward,
I will nudge the manager towards: understand the individuals, get to know the individuals better ➡️ understand their motivations ➡️ and, understand how they work together as a team and then as a department.

What Is Your Team Members Stage?

The second is more straight forward however requires getting to know your team and the individuals better first.

Ultimately what stage do your team members crave to be on?
Where are they most comfortable?
& Where do they gain their energy?

Their Stage

Their stage is always different, your extroverted team member will want to stand up in front of the company and present their work or the teams work. They thrive in front of an audience, they gain their energy from other people and importantly the limelight.

Your ambivert will gain their energy differently, they might enjoy the creation process, they like the detail phase, the write-up phase is where they excel, a detailed retrospective to help the rest of the team to take learnings moving forward and enjoy creating a detailed presentation while actively not wanting to present it.

You can have introverts who gain their energy and know their stage is in delivery. Their stage is performing not putting on a performance.

Their stage is where it enables and allows your team members to truly shine.

Your Role As A Leader

Your job as a department head is to understand these personal elements, their energy sources, the praise they like, when and how they like to receive praise and how your team members like to perform and what and where their stage is.

The best Marketing Departments I have worked with, in or led are typically a mix of complex personalities, introverts, ambiverts and extroverts all having their own unique perspectives, personal requirements but importantly they have understood each other’s personalities, their preferences, how and where they like to operate and how they like to perform and importantly what stage and role each play.

Time To Step Up As A Lead

As I mentioned in f*** fear, it is time for you and your team to step up, get to know each other, understand where you can help to make it tick and this will help your team beat performance anxiety, fatigue and start delivering quality work and campaigns.

In the coming weeks, it is essential you and your team come together, find ways to workshop (remote with docs or tools like Miro or Mural), build out your playbooks and getting the most out of your team by truly understanding each team member and rolling into your team.

In 2021, personal and professional development is never going to be more important, as a lead step up and enable your team or department to reach their potential.

If you would two more blog posts to read:

  1. Marketing Is will help you and your team progress most.
  2. The 9P’s, Problem, Pick, Plan, Prepare, Predict, Present, Preview, Prove, Proof will help get the most out of your department to roll into your company-wide strategy.