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Phil AndertonTonights Saltire Foundation Masterclass speaker was Phil Anderton – a man with an illustrious career in marketing and as a CEO.

A few things that he said really stuck with me, so I thought I’d share them.

Phil started his career at Procter & Gamble, where he was brand manager for Pampers. In search of the sort of in-depth insight into consumer needs and behaviour needed to enable excellent marketing, he spent time in peoples homes understanding (and sometimes watching) how they used and related to the product. Assumptions about customer needs are not enough – research with users is required.

Next he worked for Coca Cola, which outsells Pepsi 3:1 in spite of the fact that in a blind taste test 2/3 of people prefer Pepsi. Why? Pepsi is associated with youth, “the choice of a new generation”, but Coca Cola has a richer set of values. Authenticity. Refreshment for body and mind. Social good times. Marketing is all built on these values, using imagery to reinforce them and connect them to daily experience.

  • The most obvious form of imagery is in the logo, colour, design and shapes associated with the brand.
  • Product imagery makes a dull bronw sugary liquid appealing – using ice, condensation on the bottle/glass, and backlighting.
  • User imagery places the product with “users” that the customer either wants to be, or wants to be with.
  • Usage imagery places the product in a situation that the target customer can relate to, encouraging them to consume it in that situation.
  • Associative imagery uses the equity of another brand to reflect positively on the product – for example through sponsorship.

This translates into measurable results:

  • Using a buff young man to advertise diet coke (user imagery) increased sales by 12%, with a disproportionate increase in sales to men.
  • Adverts showing people consuming Coca Cola with meals increased consumption – increasing sales to existing customers.
  • The image of Santa Claus with a white beard and red robe was created by Coca Cola and is associative imagery, connecting Coca Cola to Christmas. During the festive season, Coca Cola outsells Pepsi 9:1!

In something of a change of direction, Phil’s next role was as CEO at Scottish Rugby Union. Recognising that match tickets are a product and applying marketing techniques increased match attendance even through a period of poor team performance. The spectacle of the Edinburgh Millitary Tattoo inspired him to introduce a piper on the roof of Murrayfield Stadium, fireworks and pre-match entertainment to enhance the match-day experience for fans.  This earned him the nickname “Fireworks Phil”.

He continued working in the sports industry, as CEO at Hearts Football Club, then at the ATP Tour (Tennis) and finally Al Jazeera (a Saudi football team).

This gave him some critical insights into the primary motivators for sportsmen and women. In no particular order, and sometimes in combination:

  • A desire to be the best
  • A desire to prove themselves, often rooted in poor self esteem
  • A desire to win for others – to thank their parents, to reward their team and coaches

He also admires the “positive, simple communication” used by excellent sporting managers and coaches, and their ability to create clear direction. For example:

  • Goal: Win at the Olympics
  • Target: Complete the event in a time of X or better
  • Focus: Identify areas of weakness and work tirelessly to address them

A lesson for sport that sounds rather relevant to business…

Thanks to Phil Anderton and the Saltire Foundation for an engaging and educational evening!

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