Archive for February, 2008

Dowconzki §3

I can’t believe it’s not butter

© Jake Goretzki

29 February 2008 at 12:51 pm Leave a comment

Making markets for buyers


Trevor Harvey writes:

Springwise has an item this week on a new initiative (opens to Dutch web page) in the Netherlands whereby ING – one of the country’s largest banks – helps buyers makes offers for other people’s homes – even through the houses aren’t actually on the market. There have been similar schemes elsewhere.

They see it as further evidence that we’re moving towards Doc Searls‘ ‘intention economy‘, which is more interested in what buyers would like to buy rather than what producers want to sell. It’s an interesting idea, and since buyers are likely to have the money it cuts out a lot of marketing effort. But before we rush to declare a new dawn, there are some wrinkles. It seems to me that it opens up some privacy concerns – or even just straight nuisance calls; how long before there is a register akin to the Mail Preference Service for people who decline to be approached in this way? Most contract law, certainly in the UK, is based on sellers making an offer to which a buyer accedes. And the notion of the market seems deeply embedded in cultures throughout the world. There may be good social reasons why – for 10,000 years or so – the dominant sales model has been of sellers gathering their wares and buyers going to find them.

28 February 2008 at 6:48 pm Leave a comment

Social consciousness is high in Brazil


Camilla Parke writes:

If you were starting to lose faith in your less-than-philanthropic next door neighbour, don’t give up on them just yet – especially if they are Brazilian. Reassuringly, it appears that we are getting better at doing the right thing: A recent global study from PR firm Edelman on consumer attitudes towards social purpose and the role of brands showed that 37% of consumers say they are more involved in good causes then they were 2 years ago.


And it appears that some nations are much more socially conscious than others – compared to the encouraging global average, 63% of Brazilians say they are getting more involved, and according to the study each one is actively supporting an average of just over four social or environmental causes (twice as many as the rest of us).


So what makes Brazilians so socially conscious, and what could this mean for companies that operate there? The disillusionment with government and its inability to address social ills is a significant factor. Some of HCHLVs recent global research on sustainability shows that Brazilian consumers attach importance to social and community issues – and that they expect private companies and brands to do the same.

21 February 2008 at 10:04 am Leave a comment

The future is already here…


Andrew Curry writes:

One of the best-known quotes about futures work – “the future’s already here, it’s just unevenly distributed” – is by the novelist William Gibson, and it’s one of several quotes we sometimes use to introduce futures concepts at workshops. But it’s become dulled by familiarity; a couple of months ago, at a workshop with our sometime collaborator Wendy Schultz, she wondered out loud if there was another way of making the point that there were almost always clues around us as to how the future would evolve, as long as we listened for them (“weak signals”, in futures jargon).

So Russell Davies’ recent post suggesting that the Gibson line “needed flipping around” raised a wry smile. I think the problem is that the line has become so familiar to practitioners that it has floated free from its meaning – it signifies that the speaker does some futures and and knows that very familiar William Gibson line. But it still has meaning for audiences who are new to, or unfamiliar with, futures’ work, who haven’t heard it before; they get it straightaway. It’s about the listeners, not the speaker.

As for the quote: Gibson himself has suggested an alternative:

“Glancing sideways is becoming more generally recognized as about the best way of doing what we used to call futurism.”

[Thanks to the end of cyberspace for the link to this].

Image of William Gibson by Fred Armitage with thanks to Wikipedia

20 February 2008 at 10:04 am Leave a comment

What the Premiership learnt from Formula One

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Andrew Curry writes:

I hope I’m not too late to note a fine article [not currently available on the Guardian’s own site] by the Guardian’s Richard Williams on how England’s footballing Premiership has, in its plan for overseas league games, followed a global marketing blueprint first laid down by Formula One. Williams suggests the three steps to sporting franchise heaven go like this:

  • Step One: Secure the commercial rights to the sport, including the right to sell broadcasting licences, income from which will dwarf the sale of tickets and perimeter advertising.
  • Step Two: Use the television ratings to encourage the acquisition of teams by people more interested in global brands and markets than in the sport’s traditional audiences.
  • Step Three: Clear out the traditional schedule to create new opportunities in new markets, if necessary by threatening to remove existing events completely.

Williams also suggests that there’s a fourth lesson that the Premiership’s Richard Scudamore has learnt as well:

“Saying the unsayable out loud is more than halfway to actually getting it done, as long as you have the money on your side and are prepared to take no prisoners.”

Given the money at stake, the current crowd of owners, and the track record of the Premiership over the last fifteen years, you wouldn’t bet against it pushing the plan through. But there are a couple of differences: formula one is still about individuals (we remember great drivers like Senna and Fangio), whereas football is about teams and their history. And football is far more rooted in place than motor racing ever was.

15 February 2008 at 5:50 pm 1 comment

dowconzki § 2


© Jake Goretzki

15 February 2008 at 9:00 am 1 comment

Do I like you?


Jo Phillips writes:

We have been talking a lot here at HCHLV recently about the influence that a powerful personality with strong beliefs sitting at the helm of a company can have on brand perception. Bill Gates and Anita Roddick are archetypal, but more modest entrepreneurs can have a similar brand impact (think of Johnny Boden, Stelios, or Richard Reed of Innocent) My view has been reinforced by conversations I have had with consumers across the country this week, as I’ve heard often that Richard Branson is the only man who can save Northern Rock, and indeed any other problem we might care to throw at him.

So it might be thought foolish of Michael O’Leary to publicly declaim his discompassionate greed and complete obliviousness to the cares of people and planet:

“We would welcome a good, deep, bloody recession in this country… It would help see off all the environmental nonsense that has become so popular among the chattering classes.”

He chooses to overlook that people lose jobs and homes in a recession, not to mention the fact that not even George Bush is stubborn enough to deny climate change any more, or come to that that people fly less when they have less money. It was enough to lose Ryanair one customer at least – I have just paid £20 more for a BA flight rather than travel with his airline.

14 February 2008 at 9:00 am Leave a comment

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The Futures Company blog

The Futures Company was created through the merger of Henley Centre HeadlightVision and Yankelovich in 2008. This is the blog of the new company - but the former posts from the former Henley Centre Headlightvision blog still can be found here.

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