Posts By: Sammy Mansourpour

Is the British Brand broken?

Union Jack

As a nation Britain has suffered from brand decay, largely around football, holidaymakers abroad, even the Iraq war. But recent riots, televised and sensationalised around the world have even had the head of Visit Britain and British Tourism on television defending the nation.

The problem that the British brand faces is that it stands for dysfunction. Dysfunctional coalition government, dysfunctional ethnic tolerance, dysfunctional society, even a dysfunctional Royal family (although they have made strides in recent years). It is difficult to think of a nation that so clearly re-enforces its stereotypes with the rest of the world. In the past, I’ve even been asked by chief executives to steer clear of national advertising campaigns that feature the Union Jack in shop windows, just in case it incites antisocial behaviour against the store brands in question. Read more on Is the British Brand broken?…

Now who’s going to fire the PR department? by @TheAgencyUK

We know social media has exposed us, Max Clifford’s hide and leak approach is weak, and MumsNet can bring down News of the World. So what’s the answer for effective brand management in this social media era?

As in-house marketers and agency mad men we spend the majority of our time assessing different ways our brands get noticed, become relevant, engage an audience and trigger a sale, all whilst protecting them from negativity along the way. Fairly standard fodder for most of us today. Read more on Now who’s going to fire the PR department? by @TheAgencyUK…

Basic Instinct by @TheAgencyUK

By Saman Mansourpour, as featured in ViewPoint Magazine
My alarm clock kicks in and the DJ tells me to tweet him. I brush my teeth and wonder if one of those semi-intelligent brushes might make my teeth whiter. I head downstairs and think it would be good to get one of those interactive fridges that tells me what I’ve run out of and whether I should order more. Then the phone clicks – it’s a smart one, you know.
I’m inundated with information about people I haven’t seen in years and probably don’t want to. But I click the ‘like’ button and everything’s fine. We’re all friends, though secretly I’m glad I don’t have my home address on my profile. Read more on Basic Instinct by @TheAgencyUK…

I Thought Leaders had a Clue? by @TheAgencyUK

I’ve met a number of very senior thought leaders recently. Many of which have modelled the current social landscape in their minds, speculated on how human behaviour and interaction with brands will evolve over the coming decades.

Read more on I Thought Leaders had a Clue? by @TheAgencyUK…

Social media is just a mad trolley dash? by @TheAgencyUK

The recession hit everyone hard. Yet amidst the downturn we saw the rise of social media. Big brands embraced it with both hands, trying new creative ideas gaining interest and generating momentum.

Read more on Social media is just a mad trolley dash? by @TheAgencyUK…

You need more traction before you can freewheel; by @TheAgencyUK

Today so many companies are in the midst of a social media frenzy. They’re desperately trying to play catch-up with the latest technologies. And at the same time they’re terrified about losing control over their brand. I wonder how many could actually claim to have control of their communications at all? Shouldn’t that be put right before they dive into social media and give customers a mouth piece?

Read more on You need more traction before you can freewheel; by @TheAgencyUK…

My dad killed Facebook

I’m a Facebook fan. I use it daily, and keep it at a safe distance from anything work related. However, I’ve recently started vetting my status posts, censoring my wall comments, and removing any material that could potentially be viewed with disgust.

Given I work in a creative advertising agency, and our success is directly linked to the richness and wealth of our reference material, censorship on a social scale shouldn’t really feature. It’s not as though I’m trying to cover up an online flirtation. The reason is that my dad is now on Facebook and linked to me and many of my closest friends.

Not since being a small child have I felt the embarrassment that comes from a father’s vocalised disappointment about the appropriateness of certain remarks, comment posts, pictures, and the general lack of decorum shown when communicating with one’s peers.

So am I surprised that Facebook has reached 500m users, yet recent stats (Mashable) show that 9% of youth users are becoming dormant, and this figure is rising?

The answer is no. Teenagers want privacy from adult supervision, and an open forum for friends. (And as I’ve discovered, so do men in their 30’s). Unsurprisingly they also shy away from many things mainstream.

The problem with Facebook, and many social media platforms today, is that you end up saying everything to everyone, so it has stopped being personal.

Perhaps the answer to effective Facebook usage is less about what you say, and more about who you say it to? The answer could be a technical one, about functionality, permissions, grouping your contacts blah blah blah.

Or perhaps it’s about deciding who you are and what your persona is going to be, and sticking to a one size fits all personality. But that’s not social, that’s contrived.

Read more on My dad killed Facebook…

Is it time to let consumers "Play the Brand"?

I remember having a telephone interview with a journalist from The Times a few years back, where I naively and rather over excitedly ranted on about mobile marketing, and a day when all Outdoor, Mobile and In-Store channels would be intrinsically linked, both creatively and promotionally. The idea was that the data held on individuals would be so vast that advertising would literally be tailored to their specific needs.

For example: Man likes coffee, walks past poster, it changes to reflect an ad for Starbucks, and an e-coupon is sent to his mobile as he walks past the coffee house. Bluetooth nailed it.

In my head, this was integration at its peak. The pure amalgamation of above the line creative with below the line tactical right through to a reflective in-store experience. Suffice to say that not one word was printed.

Today, this is less a reality, and more of a normality, and in truth a rather mundane solution. In fact the onset of Four Square and social media in general is far more sophisticated than anything I could have ever imagined.

This year we’ve seen some stand out campaigns. Magnum introduced a heavyweight ad campaign with Benicio Del Toro, then rolled it out beautifully with a viral that allowed you to paste your face into the dummy movie, as the hero. Jimmy Choo gave away shoes using Four Square and got people running all over London hoping to spot them. Marmite launched the Marmaritum, an elite group of Marmite die harders that hold a unique and extra powerful Marmite recipe.

What these campaigns and their integrated use of media has enabled brands to do is to successfully make them less about the brand and more about their customer. The term “living the brand” used to refer to companies and their staff. Perhaps today we should re-coin that phrase. It’s actually about “playing with the brand”, and all we’re doing is providing the ball. It’s the consumer that owns the game.

Read more on Is it time to let consumers “Play the Brand”?…

What’s the best way to build an integrated team?

I was sat in a board meeting yesterday, where we were reviewing upcoming job roles within our business. And I found myself pondering the question, “just what is the best way to build our integrated team?”

Read more on What’s the best way to build an integrated team?…