Creative Lewisham blog - thoughts on B2B Marketing and beyond

Brand Strategy, Creative Thinking, Digital Evolution and more...

October 13 2009 2:42 PM

What comes first - the Brand or the Keywords?

It’s a classic conversation we’ve all witnessed at some point:

SEO Expert: Here’s the list of keywords you need to focus on when writing the copy for the web site.

Copywriter: What do you mean? These don’t fit at all with the way the brand communicates.

SEO Expert: Well in that case, people searching for the brand and its products just won’t find them!

SO THERE! That told them…

Well, maybe, but there’s a reason for the way a brand communicates, and its the result of weeks, months, even years of research and acquired knowledge. An ‘upstart’ like search can’t just come and shoot all of this down with one pesky list of keywords…

Maybe not, but surely the way people search for your products is relevant to the way you should present and sell them? What it you’re selling courgettes, but your customers are searching for zucchini? Or maybe they ARE searching for courgettes, but those with the largest potential orders are specifically searching for ‘soft-skinned courgettes’, when you’re busy selling them as ‘green and white courgettes’ because this was the key message you decided on when you last looked at the way you communicate. In this case, they are less likely to find you, and you are potentially missing an important sales opportunity.

Search may be a relative newcomer in the marketing timeline, but it can provide you with vital information on the way customers perceive brands, as can the shiny new arrival, Social Media.  From a B2B perspective especially, they both represent the voice of the Buyersphere - what people are actually saying and thinking rather than what you believe they are saying and thinking. Whilst they are not the ‘be all and end all’ as some fans will have you believe, any wise marketer should add them to their toolbox and use them whenever possible.

And as for the branding question? If you have an established brand and a well-tried approach to your communication, of course you shouldn’t rip up the rule book to accommodate keywords. To quote a favourite search mantra: build for the users and not for the search engines - in other words, take the keywords into account, but make sure that they fit the copy and not vice versa. If, however, you are at the start of a branding or a re-branding process, Search and Social media are invaluable, powerful and free research tools that can provide you with crucial feedback on how the Buyersphere searches for and talks about your brand, and I would recommend combining them in every case with the more established tools - surveys, round-tables, focus groups, etc.

So, in a way, the keywords do come first, but not in importance, just in order.

September 29 2009 6:04 PM

Myth measurement

September 15 2009 10:59 AM

Brand guidelines not fit for purpose

I’ve just been looking through two sets of brand guidelines, both forhousehold-name b2b brands. They are nice, shiny, well produceddocuments. Look great in print. But I’m looking for guidance on howwe use the brands for online projects we’re planning.

What we need to know - and I think should reasonably expect of proper, complete, fully-rounded brand guidelines - is how the brands should live in the online environment.

And nope, there’s nothing there. It’s completely absent. It doesn’t appear seem to have beenconsidered at all. They aren’t even that old - the last one was produced in 2008.

So I’ve come to the conclusion that most of what these ‘guidelines’contain is a now total irrelevance to the way a brand needs to be usednow.

September 07 2009 5:06 PM

Powerful creative for a powerful issue

It’s thought-provoking. It’s insensitive. It’s powerful. It’sshocking. And that it has created a tidal wave of protest is an ironythat’s not lost on us.

If you haven’t seen the WWF (wildlife, not wrestling) ad that was created by DDB Brazil, see it below (quickly, before they take the linkdown).


WWF 911 commercial
by dalagelli

For the record, everyone responsible has been quick to apologise forit. But whilst we can see that many people are understandably sensitiveabout the 9/11 reference, we can’t help wondering if an issue as big asenvironmental responsibility doesn’t deserve a big, hard-hitting bit ofpublicity…

And of course, a good piece of creative is one that’s gets people talking, isn’t it?

What do you think?

August 27 2009 9:47 AM

Anonymity and social media

You can hide, but you can’t run.

The old maxim seems to have been reversed for social media, and it raises some big issues for those of us involved in making the web work in B2B marketing.

What I mean is that when an individual contributes to the online content pool, that information is released to the mercy of others. You can’t run away from it: once you’ve posted, it’s out there and there’s nothing you can do to get it back. This can work for you or against you: ask Domino’s Pizza.

But for me, the interesting point right now is that social media makes it easy for people to hide. To assume a pseudonym. To represent others. Some call this flexibility; some call it dishonesty. But it is prevalent all over the social web and marketers are doing it - sometimes legitimately, sometimes not. Which is why I’d like to take a look at the three ways in which this matters to B2B marketers.

August 21 2009 10:55 AM

Viral marketing

A decade or so ago, when email had reached critical global mass, we all realised that certain attachments had the power to propagate themselves.

The video with the
cat jumping out of the bush. The spoof Ferrari engine sound effect that ultimately spawned the Crazy Frog phenomenon. The endless forward-this-for-good-fortune-but-die-a-painful-death-if-you-don’t emails. They went round every email inbox and very quickly marketers had the brilliant idea that they could do the same for their clients.

They (we) were right of course. If you had the right piece of content, you could seed it with a few and it would spread to many. We have grown up a lot since those days. The viral marketing epidemic is over.

August 17 2009 1:42 PM

The 3 big social media questions

Sometimes, it’s good to return to the basics.

I have been looking for a way to distil the essence of social media marketing for B2B and, over the course of a number of conversations with clients, it has become clear that **there are just 3 things a B2B organisation needs if it is going to have a strong, useful presence on the social web**.

Yep. Just three.

The simple (or simplified) truth is that if you can answer ‘Yes’ to the following three questions, you will make a success out of social media marketing…

July 27 2009 5:10 PM

Spot the spammer

Was it something I said?

Although I was initially alarmed to find I had lost more than a hundred of my loyal and dedicated (?) following on Twitter last Friday, I was reassured to hear that this was just
Twitter clearing out some of the spammier accounts.

They should be applauded for doing this, although I wonder how they identify spam accounts. I’m sure they have some very sophisticated algorithms for identifying unacceptable behaviour but, without these facts to hand, I thought I would offer my 5 suggestions to help you spot the spammers in your Twitter stream:

July 23 2009 10:26 AM

Turning the B2B world inside-out. Or is it outside-in?

Is your marketing outside-in? Or inside-out? Which is better and why should B2B marketers care?
I was wondering this as I took my seat yesterday at an event yesterday entitled “Outside-in v inside-out: the great debate” hosted by
Experian and ABBA (the Association of Business-to-Business Agencies, not the Swedish power-pop combo).

The answer is that we should definitely care - and we should understand the merits of the different approaches. The speakers for and against the motion put forward some excellent arguments, which I have tried to summarise below (whilst adding a little editorial opinion while I’m at it, of course). Read the following descriptions and work out for yourself whether inside-out or outside-in works for you.

July 21 2009 10:33 AM


‘You can’t write a poem about B2B marketing’.

Not just one, anyway. More like seven.

It all started just over a year ago with an invitation:
our original pink poem in B2B Marketing magazine. Following up in the Beyond blog, we asked all of you involved in B2B to ‘debate how and why (if?) marketing is changing…share influences…move it along’ - in other words, to help shape the B2B mindshift.

But what good is a poem about B2B marketing?

Poems don’t give us conventionally useful answers. They take us deeper into the questions and passions that fuel our collective imagination. Ideally, they help us understand ways of thinking and being and doing that will help us to go…further. Deeper. And in this case, beyond business as usual.

To order your free limited edition of ‘Beyond: The Poems’ just email us at

When you receive your poems, read them aloud. Really. It’s the only way to feel the full impact.

PS: For my opening line to this post and the collection, I’m indebted to Ronald Wallace and his great proof that you can indeed write a poem about McDonald’s.