Listening to stories

Now let's turn to face the future

5am Monday. New Job at WhyBuy

Week Zero.

New Job. Chief Commercial Officer at WhyBuy.

It’s 5am on Monday 23 November 2020 and after writing this I’ll drive to London to meet with the team at WhyBuy, the delivery-tech firm that allows Londoners to rent anything and everything (within reason) rather than buy.

Most people would call this week one. But we’re not born a week old, we are born at zero. Except in Korea where everyone is a year older as they count age differently. Did you know that? It was Jaewoo who taught me that when he was my boss when I ran 247 Media’s Media Innovation Group (WPP) in APAC for him.

So Week Zero and jumping in with both feet into this start up. I called it delivery-tech.

Perhaps that’s because I’ve just come from a project with an adtech, Brand Advance. They make niche audiences available through their diversity media publisher network and are launching some cool new products around audience insights built on adtech. An exciting, fast growing start-up. More on that in a future post, as it frames my start to this business.

Is WhyBuy delivery-tech? Or direct-to-consumer (DTC)? Rental-tech? What do we measure and talk about most?

Mileage, then we are delivery-tech.

Sales in financial terms (£££), then we are DTC.

Sales in terms of numbers of items rented, then we are rental-tech.

That seems simplistic.

Anyol’how, as Una would say… I’ll be in shortly, Jamie Conway & Denis Oyibo.

Glad I bought de-icer yesterday.

Some tips to boost online sales, part one

Here’s the 20 min recording showing how we can all boost online sales. It’s taken from my experience and from all things that are happening right here, right now:

By way of introduction, if you don’t want to listen to the article above, let me explain: when online sales happen through your partners, ie third parties, the best thing to do is to up-skill those third parties.

Excerpt from the presentation, 10 mins into the video link

In this example, Edx Education sells amazing toys to schools and to parents, to promote learning through play.

Yes, now their distributor-partners are selling to parents who want their children to play with smarter, longer-lasting toys.

Amazon is a key sales partner for these distributors.

This is a quick overview of the digital platforms that we might think will help online sales today…

“Aim High” said Ken Robinson… saying the education industry should help children strive to do better. And that’s what I’m suggesting that we can do too when looking at digital communications. Let’s have a purpose, an objective and let’s aim high.

Content is key across these platforms. We address that in part two…

The film above is almost 20 mins long and full of links on the actual slides. If you’d like the pdf of the slides, you’re welcome to it. Please get in touch with me.

Also, if you’re keen to know about Edx Educations’ product range in your market & where to buy, have a look here:

PS – if you want to know more about where to learn about the digital marketing world, do subscribe to Addictive/FIX regular emails. One is called ‘MERCHANT’ and follows all digital retail news & trends:

Time Flies on the best Zoom calls

When Gemma Greaves, the former CEO of the Marketing Society, says she’s going to introduce us to a friend of hers, we all know by now, we will be in for a delight.

So when Gemma opened this event, “Keep Calm and Innovate with Orit Wolf ( Ph.D)” this is was no exception.

Keep calm and innovate,
with Orit Wolf, June 2020

Keep calm and innovate, with Orit Wolf

Orit Wolf is a talented pianist. She is an accomplished business consultant. A TED-level speaker. And it shows when you realise that you’ve been sitting at your desk for an hour and it feels like a quarter of that. Tempus fugit.

Orit has mastered the webinar format which is a tough platform for a pianist. Should the static camera catch her face or her hands? Should we as the audience switch from laptop speakers to the noise cancelling headphones normally reserved for public transport? As a famous pianist, now on Zoom, Orit explains you’ve got to make sure you have the right kit, and she shows off her new microphone kit to show she’s projecting the best sound possible.

Orit opens and closes her 50 minute performance with pieces by Chopin. And we are all in awe. And she explains Chopin’s compositions are the right vehicle to open and close this conversation. Apparently not only for the music, but also to demonstrate that he was born for our Post-Covid19 days: Chopin, the Polish Romantic composer, 1810-1849, refused handshakes and believed in social distancing before it was a thing.

Indeed, we’re treated to Chopin’s Waltzes no. 6 & 7 and the Fantasie Impromptu. Later, a free improvisation by Orit, herself. 

Music, Orit shows us, can be used as a metaphor for how to face the real mess we are faced with in todays tempestuous world. Orit uses her allocated time with her audience as only an accomplished virtuoso can. 

She uses her piano to fill, punctuate and engage.

The Bank of England’s research showed Orit that 40% of Fortune 500 companies will not exist in 10 years. And she knows who will survive: those who have great core values.

She illustrates how we must stop trying to avoid making mistakes but instead, learn how to deal with them. She uses the example of the fear of forgetting the notes or the mind going blank when under pressure. And how to prepare for such an occasion.

Preparation is core theme in her talk, and she references her TED talk where 18 mins gives a strong structure and makes you prepare carefully. When Orit finds a different HOW and a different WHY, we remember Simon Sinek’s TED talk on the same matter. And Orit is proud in her references to other such maestros of the stage. Musical references, of course. Business references too, like the Apple brand and business.

As her framework for her talk covers so much ground, we can imagine how she will structure future inspirational workshops for company boards. Orit explains, “I don’t want to reinvent myself but I do want to change the platform”. In today’s Zoom-friendly world, company boards might be wise to bring Orit into their meetings … and now without having to pay travel expenses, just setting up a conference call. 

Watch the “Keep Calm And Innovate” MarSoc event here:

Subscribe to Orit’s Youtube channel here:

Watch the TedxTelAviv talk, June 2018, here:

This article was edited and first published here

Managing Marketing: podcasting with the greats

Darren Woolley of TrinityP3 is a friend from the days when I lived in Sydney. And he recently had me consulting to his client Uber Middle East on a project, which was an eye-opener.

Darren has posted over 100 podcasts, entitles “Managing Marketing” with some great luminaries, including ‘my’ marketing professor, Mark Ritson. (I studied under him late last year.)

When he was in London we recorded our own podcast.

Darren has a flourishing introduction for each podcast episode. Here’s mine:

James Welch is a New Business Guru who has worked with and for Agencies in London, Singapore, Sydney and Dubai. Here he discusses with Darren the state of New Business and Business development across the multiple markets he has experienced and gives advice on what works and what to avoid when developing and implementing a business growth strategy in your agency.

Click here:

Do have a listen. Let me know your thoughts!

(After recording the podcast one Sunday in January 2019, we went on a merry pub crawl from The Hurlingham Club to Sloane Square. This photo is outside the last pub on that track, The Antelope.)

The Marketing Society: An Evening with Channel 4’s Ant Middleton

The agenda of “bravery” comes to life in different shapes and sizes at the Marketing Society across the globe. It’s interesting to see how different, brave individuals are leading the way to face the future. And how they bring others along too to face their future. 


Putting this in context of the recent event I attended in London – an evening with Channel 4’s Ant Middleton – shows the consistency of message that the Society is putting out across the globe. And the consistency of outstanding global – and local – content that is being generated and curated in each of its hubs.

Here in Dubai, I’ve just come from another inspiring conversation about bravery in the context of mental health in the workplace – in a part of the world that is known for a show-no-weakness office environment. Show-no-weakness was endemic in the military environment that Ant Middleton has come from, he told us.

In London, we saw Ant Middleton as a conflicted character. And he wears this on his sleeve. Middleton is a Channel 4 TV hero, a smiling, muscley, tattooed beast of a bloke, with an enthusiastic, cheerful disposition and a dark, menacing past.

Chronologically, he’s a special forces veteran, an ex convict, a husband, a TV show host and a father. And he’s keen to show the world, through in his new-found media career, how he manages – and how we can manage – the demons of the past. And how to lead others along to face their demons to embrace the future. Continue reading “The Marketing Society: An Evening with Channel 4’s Ant Middleton”

ReloLondon part3 – how to get noticed

When you want to get noticed – and you have time on your hands – you know you need to start writing articles, you know you need to find a place to have them published. Some go for; others prefer Linkedin. I’ll just go with my wordpress blog. And maybe I’ll repost elsewhere, like Linkedin.Exchangewire

Unless Exchangewire will take my articles. I caught up with Ciaran yesterday, so I think I’m in but it’s always TBC till you’re fully signed up, right? (Sorry for this snap, Ciaran!)

While I’m drafting articles and/or posts, I get out and go networking – among other things. I was at this event hosted by Phil Thomas, CEO of Cannes Lions, recently in Dubai – where I used to live.

This famous adwoman, Madonna Badger from New York, was talking about an important agenda item for Cannes Lions. And she started a paragraph – when talking to camera – with the expression:

Bee Tee Dub

WTF, I thought. This is taking TLAs* to a whole new level. Maybe BTW often gets shortened to Bee Tee Dub. But I’d not heard it. Do we call it an abomination or do we try to use it? I say, let’s use it.

So here are my articles that are coming up:

Bee Tee Dub: Dee See Oh
Bee Tee Dub: Dee El Tee
Bee Tee Dub: Prog-ooh
Bee Tee Dub: Too Cho

Maybe that’s a daft idea and I should just write them in English and let the publication make the title wackier, if they want.

  • DCO – creative optimisation and who’s getting left behind
  • DLT – distributed ledger technology aka blockchain
  • Programmatic out of home and other biddable media
  • Too many choices and how behavioural biases can help streamline your audience’s actions.

Let me know if you’re interested in the content – or even in contributing to the content – soon to be published in that fabulous UK publication (tee bee dee).


*TLAs = Three Letter Abbreviations

ReloLondon part2 – how to network

Two months till we all arrive back in London. I’ve been away for 12 years. We’ll spend Christmas with family. But then what: need a job.

I’m excellent at networking but haven’t yet secured a job. I want to relocate back to the UK and find an awesome role. Not any old role. So, I’m talking to anyone who’ll listen. Looking for the ‘right people’ who can introduce me to more of the ‘right people’.

It takes a while to work out who the ‘right people’ are. And I’ve worked it out. Let me share.

The ‘right people’ in life – well, in my life – are the ones are break the mould. They stand out and they stand for something. And they tell bloody good stories.

I met Ant Middleton the other night here in London. He’s an ex-special forces, now TV show, hero in the UK. Ant Middleton says he doesn’t brief his tv production teams about the scary details of the upcoming shoot. He tells them the risks aren’t as high. And leads them along the way.

TV Heros. Ant Middleton & JW – a selfie

Ant Middleton says,

Don’t be a sheep. Be yourself. The best version of yourself. Be a shepherd.

Ant Middleton finds a positive in every negative. And he’s a complex character. The evening was another amazing event by the Marketing Society.

The next day I met Richard Shotton. I worked with him 15 years ago, but now I’m just one of his fans… Yeah, #fanboy. He’s recently published a book called The Choice Factory. If you haven’t read it – and you work in business of any sort – you should. It’s all about short cuts for getting people to think differently. The format of each chapter is what you want from a business book. Engaging! ChoiceFactory.png

Title/subject – Illustration (anecdote) – Explanation (research) – Implementation (how to apply this).

I had an epiphany on Rich’s behalf. I’ve suggested that he now builds upon one particular section of the last book… and start to manipulate thinking among groups that society wants to manipulate. EG rehabilitation of young offenders. I told him:

Imagine if you did a ‘reality show’ with Ant Middleton as the trainer of young offenders and you’re doing the ‘live-on-air’ program adaptation to help remould the young offenders.

If it happens, I’d be delighted. But I think they are both building their own fame independently for the meantime. Fair cop.

And that’s the problem with job seeking, I keep finding roles for other people who are quite happy with their existing roles. But it helps me with my own stories, my own positioning. My own job seeking. And it helps me find more of the ‘right people’.

Are you one of the ‘right people’?

ReloLondon part1 – how to house hunt

Two months till we all arrive back in London. I’ve been away for 12 years. We’ll spend Christmas with family. But then what: need a home.

William, 8 years old, has a new school starting in Surrey in January. We need to find a place to live near there. Rent first, buy later.

Exploring Surrey, including the school, the houses & the pubs with my parents

Went house hunting this weekend with my parents. Had a pub lunch. Bumped into a family that we know from Dubai in the pub. Small world. They have just relocated to the area too. Great news – what shortcuts can they offer? Things they wish they’d known or are glad the already knew that we might not. Handy.

Fell in love with the area. That’s handy, too.

Digital Success Stories – An Audition

JW – looking pensive on train to Manchester

This is a story of how to ‘audition’ for a new job in digital transformation. Pull in favours from friends!

This is also a story of poor hiring policies: getting people to go above and beyond the call of duty when actually there is no job to apply for!

I’d applied to join an in-house digital transformation team. The team that is being built to drive change in a big retail conglomerate with an HQ in Dubai.

I’d had three face-to-face interviews by now, where we’d talked tech, experience and measured appropriateness for the role in Dubai. Then came the email from Group HR, asking for me to audition to be part of this business transformation. The email read:

We would like you to send us a Digital Audition through any digital medium of your choice. We would like this to be as flexible and convenient for you to complete as possible and some of the key things we are looking for from you are:

– An introduction to yourself
– What are you passionate about?
– How do you think you can impact our culture?
– What keeps you up at night
– What does transformation mean to you? How do you envisage it?

Continue reading “Digital Success Stories – An Audition”

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