Bird Brain Brilliance

I’ll never forget the day I saw two giant white pelicans mugging a Japanese couple in London’s St James Park as they were about to tuck into a box of sushi.

The tourists were on the verge of biting into a fish and rice parcel when the pelicans waddled up, flapped their mighty wings and caused the startled visitors to flee for their lives – leaving behind a boxful of sushi.

As the birds tucked into their plunder, it struck me there is no such thing as free lunch even for pelicans.

To the victor go the spoils and the birds got their lunch by instigating a daring and perfectly timed strategy to seize their prize. The price of failure would have been empty stomachs.

In the world of business, it is usually the most ambitious brand with the most daring marketing strategy that wins the day.

As marketers we must think big and resolve to be highly innovative because the price of thinking small is actually greater than the cost of achieving exceptional results! 

Remember Remember!

Theodore Roosevelt once said no one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.

Remembering a person’s name is the first step in demonstrating how much you care.

Most of us, alas, are not good at recalling the names of people we have met only briefly.

How many times have you totally forgotten the names of people you were introduced to only 10 seconds before?

The good news is that recalling names is a skill all of us can learn. Here are five helpful hints to ensure you won’t forget a name ever again.

  1. When you are introduced, pay attention so that you actively listen to their name instead of thinking about what you are going to say.
  2. Repeat the person’s name – It’s nice to meet you Jim. It’s lovely to meet you Mary.
  3. Use the person’s name again in the conversation – What do you do Jim? Where do you live Mary?
  4. Ask them about their name – what does it mean, who were they named after, how do you spell it?
  5. Add a visual image in your head. For Jim you may think of a fitness gym. For Mary, the nursery rhyme Mary Had A Little Lamb could be the visual tag.

Finally, stop telling yourself you are bad at remembering names. Start telling yourself you are good at recalling names. Believe you can or believe you can’t – either way you will be right!

Talk Your Way To Success

People say talk is cheap. I’m not sure because nothing can happen in our lives until we speak our thoughts.

We constantly move towards what we keep talking about be it success or be it failure.

Change what we’re saying and we’ll change what we’re seeing.

One of the reasons we fail to achieve business targets is because we don’t voice our goals and our vision often enough.

So many of us share our dream at the start of the year and leave it there. We forget that people forget.

We need to be constantly reminded of things that are important.

When it comes to goal setting, remember this universal truth – the more we say it, the more we’ll believe it, the more we’ll achieve it!

Golden Rules For Company Investing


I love launching, building and selling companies. I enjoy the challenges, relish the triumphs and learn from the setbacks.

Today I own a raft of businesses ranging from PR agency Beattie Communications to the Only marketing boutiques. You will find a list of our brands here.

Over the years I’ve also made a shilling or two by investing in businesses where I have no day-to-day involvement.

When deciding whether to put my hand in my pocket, there are ten golden rules that guide my investment decisions:


1. Understand The Business

I will only invest if I understand how the company makes money.  For instance, I like media businesses, transport companies and food or drinks retailers because I understand how they generate revenues. I avoid financial businesses if I don’t understand how they create wealth.


2. Admire The Management

It’s essential that I admire the management. They must be smart, ambitious, hard-working and dedicated. They must come with a proven track record.


3. Invest At A Good Price

You make money in a business when you buy in at a low price and sell at a high price. Paying over the odds, always results in a much poorer return when you sell.


4. Invest In A Company That Can Last For Decades

You don’t want to invest in a company that relies on technology that may soon be superseded or operates in a fast-changing environment.


5. Track Record Of Success

I always expect the company to have a proven record of success. If it’s a start-up, the founders need to have had an impressive career


6. Consistently Makes Good Profits

Past profit consistency is a prerequisite. I’m not keen on investing in turnarounds, no matter how talented the management team.


7. Good Growth Prospects And Low Expansion Costs

I always look for growth businesses where expansion requires a low re-investment of capital. For instance, I would much rather invest in a bus company than a cruise line because the cost of buying an extra bus is tiny compared to the cost of purchasing an additional ship.


8. A Premium Brand

I like companies with a strong brand reputation that can command a premium for their products or services.


9. Little Debt

We all know how ruthless the banks can be when it comes to repayments so I always avoid companies with a mountain of debt.


10. High Barriers To Entry

I like businesses where for cost or skill reasons it’s difficult for rivals to start up and gain a toehold.

Have You Joined The Mobile Marketing Revolution

The mobile marketing revolution keeps gathering momentum and that's driving online sales higher and higher.

With 79% of us using our smart phones for shopping, it's frightening to realise that less than a quarter of major brands have invested in a mobile optimised website.

Smart phones are the present and the future and I find it hard to believe that so many retail marketing gurus are still living in the past.

Mobile consumers yearn for a good user experience but so often we feel disappointed and let down when it comes to shopping on the go.

Mobile shoppers not only want to use our smart phones for buying products while sitting watching TV or reading the newspaper. We also want to use our phones while visiting bricks and mortar stores to compare prices, look for special promotions or read product reviews. If a product is a dud we want to know about it before we get to the checkout.

Retailers should remember that 74% of us are likely to make a purchase based on what we discover from a smart phone search.

When we are out and about, we want to use our smart phones to identify local stockists or, if we are in a hurry, the nearest stockist.

If our experience from one retailer is not up to scratch, we will quickly move on to another.

Today, we really do let our fingers do the walking and big brands need to waken up to the new reality.

If you need help getting your mobile marketing strategy up to speed the team at Only Retail or Only Web would be delighted to help.  Alternatively, drop me an email