Christmas Sentiment

Christmas is a time full of signs and symbolism. The same goes for any profession and Marketing management is no exception.

Marketing buzzwords are a sign. A sign with many meanings. They can signify ‘I’m in the know’, they can signify ‘the deliberate exclusion of the unknowing’, they can signify ‘the fudging of plain English’.

I picked up this example in a business article from The Independent about Thornton’s the chocolate retailer. Referring to recent poor sales the company said one cause was “continued weakness in customer sentiment”. What on earth is the meaning of that! The sentiment refers to something so ‘that something’ must be poor not the actual sentiment.

Interestingly for me it also seems to imply that the ‘sentiment’ is something that is being done ‘to’ the business. Something outside of their control. Poor sentiment is portrayed in the same way as poor weather. Its come our way and we’ll be through it soon. This is a dangerous mind set that focuses attention on PR and wordsmithery rather than the real issues that must be facing the business.

Sentiment is marketing communications latest buzzword. It is next in line to become reified by marketing acolytes.

Sure sentiment matters and tools like Radian6 are helpful and powerful, and it also risks becoming a fudge. A gloss over what matters, an arcane marketing short hand that skates over commercial issues that need to be communicated plainly.

I can hear it now ‘we have a sentiment crisis’, ‘101 ways to make your brand sentimental’, ‘sentiment sentience – how knowing what your customers feel about your products matters.’

All of sudden marketing has a brand new issue, something marketers can get concerned with, and something that diverts thought and energy from the fundamental issues. So in the grand tradition of Semiology perhaps being clear on the distinction between the sign and what it represents is a vital marketing capability. In this way we can ensure that Marketing is not dismissed as a fudge-box.

Camera Brands To Die For-A Photo Shoot With A Difference

Think again when someone says they would like to take a shot of you with their new camera this Christmas.

In the quest to grab our attention and make sure that brands stand out from the crowd creative people certainly come up with some amazing ideas. I reckon that has to be the case in the following YouTube.

For me its either one of those full of deep meaning metaphorical stretches that supposedly wheedles away at your sub conscious and modifies your buying behaviour or it is simply so self-referential as to be meaningless for most of us. What do you think?

Would you die for a digital SLR brand?

Thanks to Adrian Wood Photography for sharing this.

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When One Store Closes Another Store Opens

So students at Sheffield Business School have lost the Blackwell store at the city campus. I wonder if that indicates a change in student behaviour. There is certainly an increase in the number of students with iPads and Kindles so maybe digital books are really having a high street impact after all.

Its an ill wind the blows nobody any good. When one store closes another store opens as they say! There are other ways to get hold of a ‘real’ book. This is especially good news for those of us that like the touchy feely approach to reading and the joy of owning a dog eared much thumbed and highlight covered text. Now students can get the books on selling they need just like like this…

Business to Business Consultative Selling Skills Recommended Books

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