Party like a businessman

Marketing advice

Marketing is everything, Everything we do and everything we say, it has either a positive or a negative effect on the customers. Or no impact at all…

Recently, I read a survey stating that 85 per cent of staff are notaware of their company’s core business idea and strategy. This is how the idea of using a "party metaphor" to describe business communication & development was born.

The idea is simple. Creating a good party and marketing a business successfully are based on the same principles. The metaphor is based on a 10-step-model which encourages the employees of a given company – from CEO to Post Room – to coordinate their efforts so as to strengthen the oveall communication impact. This might sound simple, but it is not that easy to achieve and getting it right can yield significant profits.

Step #1.

The Party Theme / Business idea & Strategies. 

It´s important that everyone in the company is aware of the business idea and strategy.

I recently met with a sales executive from Apple. I asked him if his main role was selling Apple products. He answered quickly: "No, I AM Apple!" “What do you mean?" I asked. His reply was fast: "Well, I help our customers to unleash their potential with simplicity and attractive design, and that is someting I LOVE doing." Clearly, he knew so well the company’s values and goals that he could identify with them. Talk about living the brand!

Tip: Make sure that that all staff is aware of what their role entails and how it fits within the company. You will be amazed about the amount of money wasted and opportunities missed when there is confusion about the company’s aims.

Step #2.

Guests? Target groups and their needs.

Without customers - no business. All focus should be directed towards satisfying the customer’s needs and making the company a ‘hero’ in customers’ lives. IKEA is a great example of pre-empting and meeting customer needs. In addition to functional furniture at low prices, their stores offer free measuring tapes, small pencils and note papers, and especially designed IKEA bags, to name just a few clever customer-friendly features.

Tip: Encourage all staff to think about what their customer needs are, and how they can contribute to satisfying them. They might come up with the idea of ​​your company’s IKEA bag.

Step #10

Seven steps later in the model, you have reached Step #10 – ‘The Moment of Truth’. The result of the overall strategy should be that customers enjoy the product/ service so much that they’ll want to come back for more. The attention to detail at the heart of the company’s strategy is a key element of such success. Coca Cola is one of the most popular brands worldwide; its Facebook page counts more than 42 million ‘likes’. Not only it is known to value its employees, but it constantly keeps abreast of social trends. Despite having been established in 1886 it is not complacent and aims to appear fresh all the time (no pun intended).

Harald Moe is a business & communication consultant based in Sweden. He is the author of Party Marketing

Photograph: Getty Images

Harald Moe is a business & communication consultant based in Sweden. He is the author of Party Marketing

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The tale of Battersea power station shows how affordable housing is lost

Initially, the developers promised 636 affordable homes. Now, they have reduced the number to 386. 

It’s the most predictable trick in the big book of property development. A developer signs an agreement with a local council promising to provide a barely acceptable level of barely affordable housing, then slashes these commitments at the first, second and third signs of trouble. It’s happened all over the country, from Hastings to Cumbria. But it happens most often in London, and most recently of all at Battersea power station, the Thames landmark and long-time London ruin which I wrote about in my 2016 book, Up In Smoke: The Failed Dreams of Battersea Power Station. For decades, the power station was one of London’s most popular buildings but now it represents some of the most depressing aspects of the capital’s attempts at regeneration. Almost in shame, the building itself has started to disappear from view behind a curtain of ugly gold-and-glass apartments aimed squarely at the international rich. The Battersea power station development is costing around £9bn. There will be around 4,200 flats, an office for Apple and a new Tube station. But only 386 of the new flats will be considered affordable

What makes the Battersea power station development worse is the developer’s argument for why there are so few affordable homes, which runs something like this. The bottom is falling out of the luxury homes market because too many are being built, which means developers can no longer afford to build the sort of homes that people actually want. It’s yet another sign of the failure of the housing market to provide what is most needed. But it also highlights the delusion of politicians who still seem to believe that property developers are going to provide the answers to one of the most pressing problems in politics.

A Malaysian consortium acquired the power station in 2012 and initially promised to build 517 affordable units, which then rose to 636. This was pretty meagre, but with four developers having already failed to develop the site, it was enough to satisfy Wandsworth council. By the time I wrote Up In Smoke, this had been reduced back to 565 units – around 15 per cent of the total number of new flats. Now the developers want to build only 386 affordable homes – around 9 per cent of the final residential offering, which includes expensive flats bought by the likes of Sting and Bear Grylls. 

The developers say this is because of escalating costs and the technical challenges of restoring the power station – but it’s also the case that the entire Nine Elms area between Battersea and Vauxhall is experiencing a glut of similar property, which is driving down prices. They want to focus instead on paying for the new Northern Line extension that joins the power station to Kennington. The slashing of affordable housing can be done without need for a new planning application or public consultation by using a “deed of variation”. It also means Mayor Sadiq Khan can’t do much more than write to Wandsworth urging the council to reject the new scheme. There’s little chance of that. Conservative Wandsworth has been committed to a developer-led solution to the power station for three decades and in that time has perfected the art of rolling over, despite several excruciating, and occasionally hilarious, disappointments.

The Battersea power station situation also highlights the sophistry developers will use to excuse any decision. When I interviewed Rob Tincknell, the developer’s chief executive, in 2014, he boasted it was the developer’s commitment to paying for the Northern Line extension (NLE) that was allowing the already limited amount of affordable housing to be built in the first place. Without the NLE, he insisted, they would never be able to build this number of affordable units. “The important point to note is that the NLE project allows the development density in the district of Nine Elms to nearly double,” he said. “Therefore, without the NLE the density at Battersea would be about half and even if there was a higher level of affordable, say 30 per cent, it would be a percentage of a lower figure and therefore the city wouldn’t get any more affordable than they do now.”

Now the argument is reversed. Because the developer has to pay for the transport infrastructure, they can’t afford to build as much affordable housing. Smart hey?

It’s not entirely hopeless. Wandsworth may yet reject the plan, while the developers say they hope to restore the missing 250 units at the end of the build.

But I wouldn’t hold your breath.

This is a version of a blog post which originally appeared here.

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