Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Bialetti Un grande venditore Lesson from a great italian salesman

The concept of recreating the real taste of professionally made coffee to the home did not begin with Nespresso convincing us to become our own domestic barista. The octagonal  aluminium Moka  from Italy brought something near to the real taste of espresso coffee into Italian homes in the 1930s.  The stove-top pot produces coffee by passing boiling water pressurised by steam through ground coffee.

omino coi baffi - the little man with a moustache
 with hand raised ordering a coffee
Personalities in business are not new of course but there seem to be fewer 'characters' who are brand champions in the style  of Renato Bialetti.

The great Italian salesman and marketer died a few days ago  in Ascona, at the age of 93 and "fruits -of-success" would like to pay tribute to him and tell a little of his story which has a lesson relevant to today's sales professionals. 

Renato Bialetti, is the Italian entrepreneur known for having launched the Moka. 

While he lived in Omegna, Italy he was raised in a family whose business had been founded by his father Alfonso in 1933.  Renato started running the business in 1946.

Renato's mission was to make the Moka famous around the world and it started with a restyling of the design by launching the popular "omino coi baffi", a little man with moustache which is now the symbol of the Bialetti Moka worldwide.

The Bialetti Moka is now a global icon and an estimated 330 million have been sold worldwide. 

Obituary in the  London Times 24th Feb 2016

The Bialetti Moka Express was designed in Italy in 1933 by Luigi di Ponti, who sold the patent to Alfonso Bialetti, an aluminium vendor.The patent for the pot was acquired by Renato's father, Alfonso, in 1933.

The brewing process used by the Moka was devised by Alfonso. 

A soap story  

It was inspired by watching his wife Ada washing laundry in the fields of Omegna., on lake Orta north-west of Milan. 

Looking at the tub which had a central column that drew up a mixture of  soap and ashes when the water boiled- Alfonso realised that the method could be applied to making coffee.

Alfonso recognised the potential of the gadget – one of the first kitchen items to be made from aluminium - which promised to bring high-quality, espresso style coffee into homes for the first time. The principles improved on standard percolators where the circulated brewed coffee reduced its flavour.

Alfonso cast his octagonal 'caffetiera' in aluminium rather than steel. This gave a futuristic look as well as making it easier to mass-produce  using moulds.

But Alfonso struggled to market the aluminium pots on a large scale, only selling them at local markets around Piedmont.

By the time his son took over the company in 1947, only 70,000 pots had been manufactured.     But thanks to the younger Bialetti, the fortune of the Moka began to change.
The  Balietti Moka range on the shelves of the wonderful kitchen
 cookware department of Elphicks of Farnham

Renato launched a huge marketing campaign, renting billboards in major Italian cities and became a mascot for the brand, printing a caricature of himself on each pot.

Renato Bialetti’s temperament  was an unusual mixture of rigour and and imagination, exuberance and shyness, genius and recklessness.

A salutary lesson for us all

 Despite his success he kept his feet on the ground and like to tell of how he had once gone to a swanky car showroom in Milan and asked the price of a  Mercedes. 

The salesman had looked at his sober jacket, buttoned to the neck, assumed he was a chauffeur and asked when his master would pick up the car. Bialetti went next door and bought a Bentley !

Lesson :NEVER judge a book by its cover. – applies to show room selling and working off an exhibition stand today !

Renato Bialetti passed away on February 11, 2016. He was 93. After cremation, his ashes were placed in a large Moka Express-shaped urn. The urn was blessed in a funeral mass, then placed in Bialetti's family plot in Omegna, Italy.

Related links

Saturday, 20 February 2016

Sponsorship selling - What are Sponsors looking for ?

Sponsorship selling has been much in the news of late. 

Beware displeasing your Sponsors.

Sponsors have been withdrawing their support because the alignment of the brand with the sponsored is seen to be damaging to their brand.

In sport, the sponsored player or sports organisation trades their reputation and popularity to  help leverage an increased marketing communications opportunity to the sponsor in terms of exposure to their brand.

However the current news stories have shown that sponsors expect the organisations they sponsor to behave in certain ways and the individuals they support to conduct themselves in a manner commensurate with the values of the sponsor.

If a there is a serious disconnect of these values between the sponsors and sponsored, it can lead to the sponsor to withdraw their investment.

Sportswear manufacturer Nike announced they had withdrawn their eight year sponsorship from the Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao  for his anti-gay views which Nike described as “ abhorrent“.

Similarly Adidas withdrew sponsorship of Sunderland and England soccer star Alan Johnson after his plea of guilty to child sex offences. The winger’s boot deal with Adidas was reported to be £10,000 per season.

Sponsors similarly have withdrawn their support of Organisations.

 Nestle has ended its sponsorship of IAAF Kids Athletics programme, as it fears the doping  and corruption scandals engulfing the world athletics governing body could damage its reputation. The IAAF also lost Adidas’ support last month. Adidas' 11-year sponsorship deal, reportedly worth £23m, was due to run until 2019

The extended shenanigans of FIFA over allegations of corruption at the highest levels have caused Chief executive of Brand Finance David Haigh to comment 

 “Sponsors have partnered with Fifa in order to build their brands, not have their reputations tarnished. The kind of activities that are alleged to have been going on could destroy billions of dollars of brand value. “

Age UK took a knock on its alliance with Eon.
The not for profit and charity sector are increasingly trading the reputation of their work with private sponsorship as public funding has been either capped or reduced or in some cases withdrawn as part of public spending cuts.

Everything charities do hinges on public trust and  the continued support through donating money, sponsoring people, volunteering and getting involved in lots of other ways.

"Whose job is it to regulate the angels" asked the Financial Times when Kids Company, which helped deprived inner-city children, imploded last year. It was one of a number of recent scandals in the charity sector.

It has become clear that none of the regulatory bodies — the government, the Charity Commission or even the trustees — were up to the job.

TRUST is of course, the key to any relationship, whether it's your family, a friend or a commercial transaction. 

Betrayal of trust is bad at any time, and especially if it hits one
 hard in the pocket as well as in the heart.

Most pensioners assume that the advice provided by Age UK would be motivated by what was best for them – and not the charity's bottom line – so the best deals would be the ones it offered.

Over 152,000 signed up for E.ON tariff recommended by Age UK – at an average cost of £1,049 annually – that almost £160m! At £6m, Age UK's “cut” was less than 4 %.

It has transpired that deal was, again on average, £245 more expensive than E.ON's cheapest 2015 tariff!  

A staggering £37m was paid more than necessary by many struggling to keep warm in winter.

Age UK aren't the only large charity after “big business” – the RSPCA, Oxfam and the British Heart Foundation are others recommending financial products.

The right corporate partnership is a mutually beneficial arrangement: for the charity, funding, support and increased visibility; for the sponsor, brand building, good PR and the chance to “make a difference.”

Sponsorship can be anything from funding a one-off event to a long term partnership or project, but with over 180,000 charities in the UK, competition for the most lucrative sponsors can be fierce.

OK  folks enough of the mistakes -  here at fruits of success we want to be part of the solution , not part of the problem.

How do we make a success of selling sponsorship and fund raising ?

What do corporate sponsors look for in their charity partnerships? ( examples quoted from various issues of the Guardian newspaper)

1.  Shared principles 

“When selecting a partner charity, we wanted our support to be more strategic – tackling issues that our staff care about, but making sure our sponsorship has the greatest impact possible,”  Natalie Tickle at RSA Insurance Group.

RSA has been working with The School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE) since 2013. The charity’s mission is to help entrepreneurs turn their ideas into sustainable businesses that stimulate positive change in the community.

 “We wanted to support a charity that would be of interest and relevance to our business. The more relevant it is, the more engagement we have from staff at all levels,” 

2. Staff commitment and engagement ( secondment) 

Getting employees on board with the partnership and being passionate about your cause can open a lot of doors. 
Inviting members of the organisation to experience the work that you do first hand is a great way to cement this relationship.

Roisin Murphy, acting head of corporate responsibility at KPMG UK believes that the company’s work with the Living Wage Foundation has been improved by seconding a senior KPMG employee to experience the charity’s work first hand.

As a corporate partner, KPMG uses its network, profile and role as a trusted advisor to business and government to campaign for businesses to become Living Wage Employers. Mike Kelly, KPMG’s head of living wage, was previously seconded to the Living Wage Foundation and provides us with a unique insight into the charity and the philosophy behind the extremely important cause it promotes.”
3.   A inspired project which helps both parties stand out

Corporate sponsorship doesn't have to involve events or branded merchandise: sometimes a more creative approach can really capture the public imagination and raise the profile of both parties.

In 2003 an Innocent marketing manager called Adam had an idea to get the general public to knit little hats for our smoothie bottles. That year Adam worked with Age UK (Age Concern) to knit 15,000 hats,” -Clemmie Nettlefold at Innocent. 
“Now, 11 years on, we launch the Big Knit campaign every year and have popped more than 10.5 million hats on our bottles throughout Europe, helping to raise over £2.65 million to help keep older people warm in winter. The Big Knit has become one of the most recognisable charity corporate partnerships in the UK.”

4. Corporate sponsorship that adds force to core company principles

 “We’re not a business. We are a football club which was born out of community when a group of munitions workers formed a football team in Woolwich in 1886,”  Kate Laurens of Arsenal football club.

Arsenal often focuses its charity work on helping the local community, and sees giving back as a key part of the club’s identity.

The club realised its ability and responsibility to give back and reach people in a way that other organisations were unable to do” 

Early matchday programmes were sold in aid of Working Boys’ Homes and one of the first gestures from the club when Arsenal moved from Woolwich to Highbury was to put an endowment on a bed at the local hospital. Partnerships allow us to continue our tradition of giving and underpin the values of the club.”

5. Impact and enhanced trustworthiness

“Corporate sponsorship allows both parties to enhance the authority, credibility and authenticity of what they are both saying,” says Murphy. “Businesses and charities can achieve more by working together to address social and environmental issues than by working alone.”

A strong, ongoing partnership also has the power to make a sustainable, long term impact.

“Through our partnership with SSE, we are supporting the growth of social enterprises that address social needs in our communities and we are able to amplify the effect of our community investment programme,” -Natalie Tickle at RSA.

“Instead of making a one-off corporate charitable donation, we are investing in the leaders of these social enterprises, helping them achieve and sustain positive impact year on year.”

Related Links

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Selling print Selling digital print - adapting your selling to new situations

  Trinity Mirror Group has announced the launch of a new daily tabloid “New Day”, which will launch nationally on 29 February, is expected to target a mid-market audience occupied by the Daily Mail and Daily Express.

Yet just a few weeks ago the Independent announced it would be dropping its print edition. 

What's  going on ?

Well, marketeers might respond that the two decisions relate to different stages of the product life Cycle. The Independent is at an end stage and the New Day at Introduction Stage.

Some papers life cycle is a scant three years
. Anyone remember ‘The London Newspaper’ ? 
It was published by NI Free Newspapers Ltd  
It was a free working week daily
 available in Central London from  2006 - 2009 .
Across the product life cycle ,the  focus of selling needs to change.  At the introductory phase selling is more an educative communication tone / 'clucking the news round the farmyard '. This progresses though a more conventional selling stage but as the growth curve begins to tail off the selling focuses on hard negotiation. Then in saturation and decline the selling has to become more specific to the end tail market. 

The last edition of the print edition of the Independent Newspaper will be on sale on Saturday 26th March 2016.  

It represents a product life cycle of some 30 years. 

Now in its decline phase with circulation down and advertising revenues very substantially down the future of the print version of the Independent meant one of inevitable management of decline or adapting to the digital space of on-line newspapers.

As the editor Amol Rajan says
“The simple fact is there aren’t enough people who are prepared to pay for printed news, especially during the week.”

Back in the day Nostalgia
(Along with many old school readers, I will miss the 'rustle and whiff' of paper, the thud on the doormat as it is  delivered. 

The readability of print on paper is more comfortable for my failing eyesight than PC or tablet screen print

I can also  remember when the outer wrapping of your take-away fish  and chips was the previous days’ newspapers. This was long before trendy fashions for recycling and sustainability were in vogue 

On hot summer days before the ubiquitous baseball cap as kids we would make a hat out of newspaper.)

Centre page photo from Issue one of
  The New Day UK Newspaper.
Photo of the earth from outer space taken by Major Tim Peake
In a  print newspaper some of the photographs are larger than  PC screens and tablet screens. The wildlife and nature scenes are particularly arresting. (e.g.see major Tim Peake's photo from space for the New Day Newspaper) This sort of scale of image will be lost on tablet, ebooks and smartphones. 

So maybe the first sight images will now be more reminiscent of the skills of Nicholas Hilliard (1547 - 1619) miniatures!

Inevitably the on line product will change the feel of  'Indie' - as will it develop a different  type of readership.  That is progress.....

Ironically within this Saturday’s issue of the Indie, there was another related story to print’s decline. 

However the story of vellum represents a product life cycle of some 5000+ years!

 From March 2016,  archive copies of UK Acts of parliament will no longer be printed on vellum. The House of Lords has agreed with Commons Administration Committee to paper. It is all to do with cost saving of course. The House of Lords state this is around £80,000 but the vellum manufacturer says the true savings would be nearer £26,000 when better printing prices would be negotiated. As with many price comparisons there is also suggestion that apples are not being compared with apples here but lemons.

The anti-vellum lobby argue that archival paper if stored properly can last for 500 years. Paul Wright of Britain’s last calf-skin parchment manufacturer, William Cowley counters
“You can roll up vellum up and leave it on a shelf- or in a cave- for 5000 years. But you won’t find any paper manufacturer who will guarantee longer than 250 years. That takes us back to about 1750 , and the rest of history we can kiss goodbye”

Surrey's oldest newspaper established in 1859
Surrey and Hants News
 ( incorporating The Farnham Post Gazette)
 Still going strong in its print version as well as its digital.

Related Links

Saturday, 6 February 2016

National Libraries Day #surreyNLD16


poem written in Farnham Library on Friday 5th  for National Libraries Day 6th of February 

I have started 2 learn the old Uke,
At the Maltings my friends, it’s no fluke.
At the fingerboard I have 2 look
Whilst strumming and catching the hook.

Should U B near the Maltings' East Wing,
U can hear us all trying 2 sing ,
When we master 'G7'
We're bound for Uke. heaven
This term on each Thursday morning.

Each week we learn a new song
It does not take us very long
2 build up R new repertoire
Soon we’ll B stars that go jolly far.

Excuse me but I must now scram,

To play at the ‘Jam at The Lamb’

Thursday, 4 February 2016

5 ways Dogs can teach us to sell better #DogsTeachUsHow2Sell

Dogs sell. Dogs earn. 
We can learn from them!
Just think of the success of the “ Be more Dog” O2 mobile advertising campaign, the branding in the 'toy'  bulldog  ‘Churchill’ in Churchill  Insurance or the Dulux dog an Old English Sheepdog who has been selling paint since the 1960s.
The  Andrex  Labrador retriever puppy (ies) have featured in 130 different adverts selling toilet tissue..............

These advert dogs sell in a fun way appealing to us through emotional triggers such as loyalty, charm and companionship.

Clear Communication :'Red' the whippet 
has got the message about a new shop
 in Farnham town
Here are 5 things a dog can teach you about selling
( adapted from an article by marketer Becky Livingston I read on the Internet)

  1.      Clear communication. Dogs don’t speak our language, though we often believe they do. They need a clear message to help them understand what we are asking of them, and vice versa. 
     The same goes for your sales messages. Make them clear for your client to understand. The more clarity you have in your messages, the more they will resonate with the audience you sell to.

Remember (a dog’s version of ‘KISS’) 

 BARK   : Basic And Relevant Kommunication ( Dogs don’t do spelling!)

     2.      Keep it fun. 
My friend Audrey Bodman's  adorable 'Millie' 
    Generating an element of fun in your selling efforts helps to engage your audience, while keeping things interesting. When was the last time you had some fun with your selling and marketing campaign?

     3.      Leadership. Dogs need someone to lead them; otherwise, they will lead themselves. Selling is the same in some respects. There are leaders and there are followers. If you want to be a leader, keep educating yourself and your support team/network . Be innovative in your approach to new technologies and tools. Share information that is relevant to your clients, customers, and peers. Remember the 'Saw-this,-thought-of-you' technique.

4.      Learning.
Which is the 'old' dog  though? Who's teaching whom?! 
The quote goes,

 “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” 
   but is that true? Dogs love to learn, some breeds more than others. If you want to be on top of your game, keep learning. Bring fresh ideas to your stale marketing efforts. Step outside your comfort zone to learn about something on the fringes e.g. learn about your  client's customers,; learn more financial understanding ;l earn a foreign language ?,  . When you keep learning, you offer your clients new insight into how you can help them, and that is worth more than just completing a project.
5.      Feed me. Some dog breeds have a voracious appetite. Like them, feed your voracious mind with new opportunities, experiences, and inspiration . They will often be what leads to a break through in your sales campaigns. When you think of all the things you need to do in a day, feeding yourself should be at the top of your list.

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Gin Glorious Gin

Title of Book:   Gin Glorious Gin

Subtitle:  How mother's ruin became the spirit of London

Author : Olivia Williams

Publisher  Headline Publishing Group

ISBN  978 1 4722 1534 5

Genre:            A history of London seen through the prism of the story of Gin

Style:  A fun and quirky read, telling the stories of the famous and unknown who shaped the city and the business of its signature drink. 

Contents page: Two pages - 25 Chapters

Index: No Index - so you may like to read it with pencil in hand if you wish to refer back for the many quotes , anecdotes and interesting selling parallels to today's selling. Good Bibliography and Picture Credits.

Flick through eye appeal:   Comfortable short chapters and illustrations. Easy to dip in and out of.

‘Time for a breather’ stops :   25  easy-to-read Chapters describing the back story of Gin.

Golden Nuggets:   Loads from over the 300 years of the business

Topic Summary:  As Olivia Williams closes her book " It (Gin) is 300 years of London life - distilled"

War Stories:  Genuine war stories relevant to their effect on Gin sales- where you could still get Gin in the wars.

Illustration:  Some photos , Maps, drawings of botanicals (copyright) and adverts for  famous brand we recognise today such as Gordon's and Pimms. Reproduction  of Hogarth Prints plus  Sectional diagrams of Pot , Coffey and Hybrid stills 


“No Gin, No King” –the cries of a subversive mob in Newgate street arrested on the night before the Gin Act of 1736 for their subversive chanting.

The James Bond of the original books
 stipulated a " Gordon's
  for his Martinis and Negronis" 
unlike the  Bond of the films.
"Gin drinkers love the heritage of the product so none (no distillers) have dropped their historic symbols - whether Tanqueray and their pineapple, Gilbey's and their wyvern, Plymouth and the Mayflower or Bombay Sapphire and Queen Victoria"

"To daffy shops for luscious drops
Folks stalk in now so numerous,
And soak their clay with sweet, sweet gin,
And jest and joke so humorous"  ( Popular rhyme back in the day -'Daffy' was a nickname for Gin)

Short Review:  Every business needs to stay fresh to be competitive.
This may mean regularly refreshing your products or services, taking them to new markets or even coming up with an entirely new offer.

An example revival of today's Gin drinking
outside of London.
Display board for The Wheatsheaf
Farnham ,West Street
The  Ginnnaisance  or Renaissance of Gin in the UK is the word Olivia Williams to describe the growth of new distilleries particularly in London. Olivia Williams tells the story of Gin in London from the time of William of Orange up to the present day.

She traces the real world of Politics, Economics, Society and Fashion, Technology, Legal and Environment (PESTLE) which Sales and Marketing Professionals would recognise in today’s marketing models through her history of Gin and London .

We learn of the unintended marketing consequences of governments raising and lowering of taxes, issuing more or reducing the licences from past times.

Back in the early Victorian period the footfall of a gin shop would have put many current ' to go ' outlets to shame.

We learn how the bar tender of West End Cocktails of the early twentieth century have a thing or to teach today's coffee shop baristas in  promotion and pizazz.

We see the effects of lobby groups such as the Temperance Movement, Supplier Trade groups, Publicans and their effects on the market.

We learn of the challenges and opportunities of export marketing in the growth of popularity of Gin

We discover how store refurbishment and outlet makeovers can be traced back to their roots the Gin Palaces.

This book is a light and engaging read .There would be no shame to have it on your business bookshelf or saved in your e book. 

Gin Glorious Gin reminds us that in the world of selling, most strategies and tactics have been thought of before – the skill is to rethink them or reread them. 

Related links

PESTLE - grinding out the real world pests in marketing

Nespresso and 7 Ps of Marketing

Product in your marketing mix

Life's a soda now - Brand master Coco Cola