The recent Ashes triumph was just that, but are there lessons that we marketers can learn from the England team? As a brand, team England was in a sorry state the last time it toured Down Under. The 5-0 drubbing sparked calls for another bail to be burnt, but rather than roll over and die they took a good hard look at themselves and began planning for a brighter future.
We’ve all had campaigns that haven’t gone to plan. Be it press, DM, digital, display ads or TV, failure is a constant threat, and while most aren’t as public as England’s in 2006-7 the ire rained down by the client can be just as painful. The trick is – to use an old cliché – to learn from the mistakes. England did. In the months that followed that disastrous tour they undertook a root and branch review of their strategy and set-up. Nothing was sacred. No one was deemed indispensible. And through hard work, a revision of strategy, planning and passionate execution the result in 2010-11 was rather different.
Of course the temptation following a poor result is to chuck the whole thing away and move on. This is prevalent today in social media marketing. Brands stick speculative toes in the social media pond and when, after a short time, they find either indifference or hostility they dismiss it out of hand and try something new or, more correctly, old. This sort of short-termism is the bane of many a new media. Back in the 50’s when TV came along, brands scrambled to get onboard only to scurry back to radio and press when the results didn’t immediately match expectations. If only they’d taken the time to ask themselves whether it was the message rather than the media that was at fault. If so, many TV-killed brands across the world might still be with us.
Failure is hard and raking over the ashes of that failure can be harder still, but if England have taught us anything it’s that fortune does indeed favour the brave. So why don’t we as marketers make the collective resolution to be a bit braver in 2011? As Edison put it, “Failure is the first step on the road to success.”