On 22 September 2011, Jack Rubins, Nick Farley and I were sitting in one of the tiny, screened off, window alcoves of Elena’s L’Etoile in Charlotte Street, London. I worked with Jack and Nick at Osprey for a while, and loved every minute of it. They’re pictured to the left.
On the day depicted, the sun was shining brightly upon our table. Waiters worried about the temperature of our Pouilly Fume, and diligently took us through the menu. They needn’t have bothered. All three of us can recite the menu in our sleep.
The gentle torpor of the hour was suddenly ripped asunder. Kapow! Like the Spanish Inquisition whom nobody expects, it was Munir Samji. We would have leapt out of our chairs had there been any room.
Seizing an un-allotted glass, he poured himself a drink, slapped Jack and Nick on their backs as far as he could in the cramped and huddled circumstances of the tiny cubicle, and then asked me what I was doing now.
Where to start?
I burbled a bit, Munir’s eyes wandered, he drained his glass, waved a cheery goodbye, and went to the cubicle on the other side of the entrance.
Later, as the early afternoon started to float agreeably by, Munir stuck his head around our door again, and looked at me again.
“You still haven’t told me what you do.”
“I’ll write!” I replied.
Here’s the letter, with one or two clients disguised a bit.
I was very pleased to see you at Elena’s last week, and was sorry that I didn’t really have the opportunity to answer your question. You asked what I do.
The short answer is that I am a marketing consultant.
But, like all marketing consultants, of which there are a large number, I do more than that.
I teach digital marketing for The European Association of Communications Agencies School, which means teaching in places such as Warsaw, Kiev, Frankfurt, Paris, Barcelona, Istanbul, Copenhagen, Aarhus and Athens.
I’ve also recently been one half of an ad hoc team hired this year to look at how well or badly alcoholic drinks suppliers are following the industry’s digital guidelines, which took six months. The key finding is that they’re doing well.
Finally, on the subject of digital, I have recently had Microsoft Italia as a digital client, which surprised me as it did them.
For my UK clients, which include The Fresh Media Group, Computer Precision, and Workman, I conduct research as part of my marketing consultancy. Specifically, the research covers three areas, and they are customer satisfaction, future clients, and failed pitches.
This latter area of research has also started to develop into an after-dinner speech based upon disastrous pitches I’ve either witnessed or which have been recounted to me. I’m going to be giving the talk to members of The Richmond Group early next month.
Finally, I have a PR client in Gloucestershire, specialising in ethical and green issues whose team I occasionally join as if I work for the agency.
The most recent outing in this role was triggered because no-one at the company had grown up on a farm, whereas I had. The glamorous issue concerned the safe management of bovine manure and slurry, about which I know rather more than I really need.
That said, I’m basically a marketing consultant.”
Munir, who now runs Blitz Communications, said, “Thanks. Simple really.”
Well, I’m now in the market for a simple slogan to encapsulate what I do. There’s no money in this.
But, if you’ve got an idea, I’d love to know.