Preparing for a presentation I found myself reflecting on the seismic global events of the recent weeks.
Once untouchable monoliths of the corporate World, the oil corporations were running scared, BP setting aside £1bn just to cover their restructuring costs. Others pulling back from investing in new fields as the costs would not be covered by the sub $50 a barrel price point.
Then there’s the supermarkets, another fall from a significant height for Tescos as the new CEO serves up the trimmings, 43 store closures, 2000 job losses and that’s just for starters. Morrisons are also re-thinking their store strategy and withdrawing from projects that now look to be wholly unprofitable.
It’s funny, an election in full swing and of course the incumbent leadership is talking up an economic recovery the opposition shouting this down as hugely overplaying the dire position we’re all in. The reality is, as always, somewhere between the two but one thing is for sure….unlike the Aldi bear, we’re not quite out of the woods.
Just hopping back into the international events of 2015. Just when you thought bankers were back in their box, up pops the Swiss with an unexpected decision to drop the Euro cap. No it doesn’t mean that their international footballers have failed to qualify for the European Championship finals. Just a small matter of the bankers deciding that the Euro currency was no longer a safe bet and they’d be better off taking their chances letting their friend Franc free to find his own rate. And find his rate he did…settling about 15% higher than the Euro which had immediate and for many devastating consequences. Don’t be rushing to buy your great Aunt that original Swiss made cuckoo clock, it will now cost you 15% more, as will army knives and of course heartbreakingly… Swiss chocolate.
The financial markets took the Swiss roll (sorry!) and then went into round two, following the Greek election results and the success of the anti-austerity party Syriza. A good deal of uncertainty surrounds the Euro and the future of the Eurozone especially as the answer to recent difficulties appeared to be Mario Draghi’s 60bn a month bond buying programme, a variety of quantitative easing.
Before you start throwing your Euro coins in my direction in despair there was of course good news from certain fruity businesses. Well…one in particular.
Apple’s record $18bn profit for a quarter was nothing short of staggering and a clear indication of the World’s obsession with smartphone technology. It also demonstrated the power of the brand and lack of concern over the pricing of the new IPhone 6. This result was swiftly followed by news of the corporations’ reserves – some $143bn, a figure so staggeringly huge it could fund the R&D and delivery of a manned trip to Mars or buy Lithuania 3 times over. Unbelievable!
All of this massive news and yet it’s happened within just a few weeks of 2015 emerging into the light. If anyone thought the pace of change was slowing or we were returning to a more stable economic climate these first few weeks of the year have proved if anything things are heating up.
But what’s that got to do with marketing?
Pretty much everything in my view.
When there is so much negativity, uncertainty, financial pressure and posting of big success we can become disorientated within our own business. What does the future hold? Should we invest or just stick as we are? Can we afford to hire new staff, move premises or give bonuses?
In addition to the worries there’s the added concern of planning to grow the business through proactive marketing. In my experience the greatest success of a business often coincides with a flush of confidence, borne from belief in the team, products and/or service offering. With so much going on we can hardly find time to catch breath let alone plan the next 12 months. But that is exactly what you should be doing.
Look at where you want to be, hold on to the vision and harness the resources of your business to a set of clear objectives that take you towards your long term goals. Don’t be swayed by politics, rhetoric, negativity of other business leaders and those who would rather head for the bunker.
Now is a time for cool heads and clear thinking and as a leader in your business you need to show how it’s done. If all else fails quote a little Kipling to ease the furrowed brows and inspire others to rise above the negativity.
“If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs…” If by Rudyard Kipling
If you are looking for help in planning the growth of your business please drop me a line, I’d love to hear from you.
David – follow me on twitter @davidlaud