O2's creativity will be stifled in-doors

I agree with Nir Wegrzyn that, now O2 has taken its design function in-house, it is going to have to work hard to build and maintain the ‘design leaders’ positioning it is aiming for I understand the sentiment behind the move - greater control, creating a team of brand experts and (presumably) shaving costs. And yet it has the potential to engender less, not more, creativity.

Great creative thinking comes from people who are allowed to stretch the boundaries and develop a variety of work across different sectors. That’s why dynamic designers usually steer clear from permanent positions in corporate organisations. All too often, despite good intentions, over time it becomes almost second nature for in-house design teams to create design solutions that tick the boxes rather than push the limits.

It may cost more, but the best design comes from internal and external creative services working together. That way the creative is relevant, fresh and innovative. I won’t be surprised to see external agencies creeping back in at O2.

Simon Wright, managing director, Greenwich Design

Irate drinks brands prove powerful influence of film

The story behind ‘Budweiser angered by role in Hollywood film’ may contrast greatly with Heineken’s determination for its brand to be featured in the new Bond film Skyfall. But they both, in different ways, pay the same compliment to the importance of film as a marketing medium.

While AB InBev is “disappointed” with its surprise appearance in Flight, so too is William Grant & Sons about the role of Stolichnaya. The fact that each company is so concerned about audience reaction to their brands’ presence in the film is endorsement of the medium’s power, albeit backhanded.

With Flight pulling in £15.7m at the US box office at its opening weekend, the two drinks companies clearly believe that large audiences will notice the brands and take away negative messages about them when they see Denzel Washington, as a drunk pilot.

Whether positive or negative, both brands clearly see that cinema influences their target audience.

John Ridley, business development director, Filmology

Loyalty is just as workable in the SME area

As 2012 draws to a close, a notable trend has been the increasing number of SMEs that are putting in place customer loyalty and reward programmes as the realisation grows that effective schemes are not just the domain of supermarkets, petrol retailers and airlines. In fact, in the first 10 months of this year the number of SMEs that we work with has doubled.

While SMEs may not be able to compete on a price basis with the big players, there are effective schemes out there that offer high perceived value without costing a fortune. It is not as difficult as expected to create programmes that offer customers relevant deals and discounts on things that they were going to be buying anyway; whether it’s the weekly supermarket shop, new clothes for the children or a trip to the cinema, as well as the bigger ticket and perhaps more luxurious expenditures such as the annual holiday.

At the same time this adds value to the SME’s proposition while lessening the importance of price from the purchasing decision.

Daniel Nugent, head of Entice

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