Johnnie Moore

Getting out of the way

Marketing too often just gets in the way of relationships. Two recent examples illustrate the point...
Johnnie Moore

Johnnie Moore

I’m Johnnie Moore, and I help people work better together

For some time now I’ve been arguing that marketing should be more concerned with the facilitation of relationships, and less obsessed with polishing images.

Likewise, for some time I’ve believed that good facilitation is often not very visible. Because a good facilitator knows to get out of the way when good stuff is happening, and not feel the need to make himself the centre of attention. Poor faciliators make themselves and their processes more important than the people they’re working for.

And more and more, I wish that marketing people would just get out of the way. Because so much of what they produce – rebrandings, promotions, special offers – are just clutter and noise that can only reduce the quality of conversations.

Ton Zjilstra gives an eloquent riposte to just the kind of promotion I’m talking about. After being offered an incentive (in the form of “free” bits of kit for his computer) to subscribe to a magazine , he counters:

Promotional campaigns like these do nothing to establish new and real relationships between people, in this case you and me, and so do not help at all to leverage any value such a relationship between us might contain. In fact, these campaigns destroy value as they make perfectly clear that, even though you open your message with ‘dear Anton’ you’re in no way interested in establishing a real connection, only in pushing your publication and thus increase revenue. Otherwise you would not have resorted to cheap tricks (well, cheap, 100GBP) to get me to subscribe.

Another bizarre example was a phone call I got the other day from Burnley Football Club. They identified me as a supporter and offered me the chance to switch my telephone to “Turf Moor Telecom” (Turf Moor is the Burnley ground).

I would still remain a BT customer, only the billing would change to TMT and I would be charged a bit less.

I wonder what BT is up to creating deals like this? They probably rationalise it in terms of affiliation building but to me the real message is clear: we are currently charging you more than we need. Our excess margin is, indeed, even more than the 5% discount TMT offers you, because there’s enough slack in our budget to cover:

paying a call centre to pester you;

paying for additional admin of switching your billing;

paying our marketing guru and his consultants to cook this nonsense up

And after wasting all this money, you get… to use the phone the same you already are.

Both of these schemes bear the fingerprints of conventional marketing. It’s in the way. It needs to clear off.

Share Post

More Posts

Waterfalls and chaos

I linked to this paper on wicked problems the other day and Chris Corrigan commented “there’s a lot in that paper eh?”. Which is true.

Medinge Moments

Just back from another extraordinary gathering at Medinge where the community that has produced Beyond Branding meets each summer. I was planning to keep this

Passion branding

Passion brands bring people together based on common interests and excitements. I’m particularly interested in ones created from the bottom up, as opposed to driven by producers concerned mainly with profit.

The volatile chemistry of trust

Interesting research from Stanford suggests that exciting brands get more trusted after making mistakes and putting them right whilst more “sincere” brands start with more trust but lose it more easily. Perhaps the sensible interpretation is that second-guessing customers can be a waste of time!

What brand are you?

Thanks to Matt Tucker at Smith Associates for telling me about What Brand Are You. It strikes me that lots of companies waste money on

Just Undo It?

The AntiBrand: blackSpot sneakers, a project by Adbusters attacks Nike directly. In doing so they take on what has become one of the great icons

Putting humanity into branding

We live in a world of too much marketing and too much branding. People’s faith in advertising has fallen to new lows as we simply

New Abbey

So the Abbey National is rebranding itself this morning. As I write this entry, they are revealing their new look, their shortened name (just “Abbey”)

More Updates

Emotional debt

Releasing the hidden costs of pent up frustrations


Finding the aliveness below the surface of stuck

Johnnie Moore

links for 2010-05-01

Energy drinks work as soon as they touch your tongue « Derren Brown Blog Strange and marvellous are the workings of the mind Predictably Irrational » Blog Archive » Power

Johnnie Moore


I don’t think I’ve ever linked to the Weekly Standard before but this debunking of the overplaying of neuroscience is a good read. (I’m overlooking the anti-liberal dig at the

Johnnie Moore

Propserity without growth

I liked this TED Talk by Tim Jackson especially his snappy analysis of where our current economic models go awry: We spend money we don’t have, on things we don’t

Johnnie Moore

File this under “cobblers children”

From New Zealand 24 August: Bosses “biggest cheats” Middle managers are the most common corporate fraudsters with more than $40 million of defrauded funds over 18 months only the “tip