Strategy

How often do you bother to read marketing emails? Like many others, you may wonder why marketers are so keen to keep e-mail communications alive. Put simply: they work. Why? Because we all still keep a close eye on our inboxes every day.

When you think of Tom and Jerry, it’s likely the first thing that springs to mind is their natural rivalry – each episode erupting into mayhem because of the comedic competition between the two characters. But if you think harder you might remember that, from time to time, the pair set aside their rivalry and defied nature to pursue a common goal. Although cat and mouse were created to be enemies, deep down they were always friends – “frenemies” before the term became mainstream.

Back in 2014, Kelly Slater, an 11-time world surfing champion and one of the greatest athletes of all time, made the surfing community question whether his brain was waterlogged when he parted ways with his long-term sponsor Quiksilver to pursue his own clothing brand. Walking away from a 23-year, multimillion-dollar partnership that had him made the face of surfing for three generations looked like a strange decision, to say the least. It was the equivalent of LeBron James leaving Nike or Lionel Messi dumping Adidas to start their own sports brands.

A couple of years ago we were asked to make some strategic recommendations about how an established B2B brand could gain quick traction and momentum in an industry sector outside its traditional sphere of influence. Specifically, we were asked to consider how “thought leadership” might play a part.

I recently celebrated three years living in the UK, having moved here from Tokyo in late 2013. I wanted to see another part of the world and seek out opportunities that I might miss if I stayed home following my graduation. So I secured a visa and headed west in search of work.

In an over-saturated ad market, where every brand and its dog scrambles for a voice and some worthwhile engagement, it amazes me that more marketers don’t revert to an old-school, low-cost medium like the humble T-shirt to amplify deep-rooted brand devotion.

I went to an event last month that opened my eyes to the future of finance. It was at the London headquarters of a startup called Monzo (formerly Mondo). You might have heard of it – it crashed crowdcube’s website within seconds of its crowdfunding campaign going live three weeks ago after enthusiastic backers pledged £1 million in a minute and a half in exchange for equity in the startup.

Tie-ups between brands are like marriages. You’re committed to each other, often you‘re viewed as one entity – and sometimes you have to put in extra effort to make it work.