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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Why the Liberal Democrats by-election surge is not all it seems

The Lib Dems chalked up impressive results in Stoke and Copeland. But just how much of a fight back is it?

By the now conventional post-Brexit logic, Stoke and Copeland ought to have been uniquely inhospitable for the Lib Dems. 

The party lost its deposit in both seats in 2015, and has no representation on either council. So too were the referendum odds stacked against it: in Stoke, the so-called Brexit capital of Britain, 70 per cent of voters backed Leave last June, as did 62 per cent in Copeland. And, as Stephen has written before, the Lib Dems’ mini-revival has so far been most pronounced in affluent, Conservative-leaning areas which swung for remain. 

So what explains the modest – but impressive – surges in their vote share in yesterday’s contests? In Stoke, where they finished fifth in 2015, the party won 9.8 per cent of the vote, up 5.7 percentage points. They also more than doubled their vote share in Copeland, where they beat Ukip for third with 7.3 per cent share of the vote.

The Brexit explanation is a tempting and not entirely invalid one. Each seat’s not insignificant pro-EU minority was more or less ignored by most of the national media, for whom the existence of remainers in what we’re now obliged to call “left-behind Britain” is often a nuance too far. With the Prime Minister Theresa May pushing for a hard Brexit and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn waving it through, Lib Dem leader Tim Farron has made the pro-EU narrative his own. As was the case for Charles Kennedy in the Iraq War years, this confers upon the Lib Dems a status and platform they were denied as the junior partners in coalition. 

While their stance on Europe is slowly but surely helping the Lib Dems rebuild their pre-2015 demographic core - students, graduates and middle-class professionals employed in the public sector – last night’s results, particularly in Stoke, also give them reason for mild disappointment. 

In Stoke, campaign staffers privately predicted they might manage to beat Ukip for second or third place. The party ran a full campaign for the first time in several years, and canvassing returns suggested significant numbers of Labour voters, mainly public sector workers disenchanted with Corbyn’s stance on Europe, were set to vote Lib Dem. Nor were they intimidated by the Brexit factor: recent council by-elections in Sunderland and Rotheram, which both voted decisively to leave, saw the Lib Dems win seats for the first time on massive swings. 

So it could well be argued that their candidate, local cardiologist Zulfiqar Ali, ought to have done better. Staffordshire University’s campus, which Tim Farron visited as part of a voter registration drive, falls within the seat’s boundaries. Ali, unlike his Labour competitor Gareth Snell and Ukip leader Paul Nuttall, didn’t have his campaign derailed or disrupted by negative media attention. Unlike the Tory candidate Jack Brereton, he had the benefit of being older than 25. And, like 15 per cent of the electorate, he is of Kashmiri origin.  

In public and in private, Lib Dems say the fact that Stoke was a two-horse race between Labour and Ukip ultimately worked to their disadvantage. The prospect of Nuttall as their MP may well have been enough to convince a good number of the Labour waverers mentioned earlier to back Snell. 

With his party hovering at around 10 per cent in national polls, last night’s results give Farron cause for optimism – especially after their near-wipeout in 2015. But it’s easy to forget the bigger picture in all of this. The party have chalked up a string of impressive parliamentary by-election results – second in Witney, a spectacular win in Richmond Park, third in Sleaford and Copeland, and a strong fourth in Stoke. 

However, most of these results represent a reversion to, or indeed an underperformance compared to, the party’s pre-2015 norm. With the notable exception of Richmond’s Sarah Olney, who only joined the Lib Dems after the last general election, these candidates haven’t - or the Lib Dem vote - come from nowhere. Zulfiqar Ali previously sat on the council in Stoke and had fought the seat before, and Witney’s Liz Leffman and Sleaford’s Ross Pepper are both popular local councillors. And for all the excited commentary about Richmond, it was, of course, held by the Lib Dems for 13 years before Zac Goldsmith won it for the Tories in 2010. 

The EU referendum may have given the Lib Dems a new lease of life, but, as their #LibDemFightback trope suggests, they’re best understood as a revanchist, and not insurgent, force. Much has been said about Brexit realigning our politics, but, for now at least, the party’s new normal is looking quite a lot like the old one.