I Think You Need To See A Specialist
Tony Quinn guest wrote this piece for CreativeBrief, you can read the article on their website by clicking here, or read below.
We love to jump on them. Us - Marketers, agencies, consultants alike. There’s nothing we like more it would seem. ‘Oooh, that looks bright and shiny, let’s jump on that’
The ‘purpose’ bandwagon for one. How we all jumped on that one (and are still doing so, it would seem). So, how could something as important as brands and organisations having a purpose, a higher order reason for being, have now become so muddied? How could inspiring the people of the world to demand higher levels of integrity from the businesses they choose, and in turn for these businesses to strive towards greater and greater levels of integrity, become so contentious? ‘Profit. Planet and People? That will never work’
Because our industry saw it coming, we saw its potential, high notes and low notes in perfect harmony, and on that bandwagon we jumped. Off we went to the Marriott Slough, complete with breakout rooms and a buffet lunch and we workshopped the arse out of it. We turned the strategic imperative of purpose, a cultural and galvanising force for good, into a grubby sales and awards tactic. We turned a colourful, vibrant, celebratory noun, bandwagon, into a dark and somewhat questionable verb
And we write all this as a somewhat meandering prelude to our latest offering, Perfect Storm Health. (We didn’t spend much time or money on our naming as you can perhaps tell). Led by the quite marvellous Nick Dutnall, Perfect Storm Health is a strategic unit that sits alongside New Macho in the Perfect Storm house of brands. As the title suggests, Perfect Storm Health specialises in the growth and development of health care brands, B2B, B2C and B2E.
Now you could be forgiven for thinking that this is a piece of outrageous brandwagon-ing on our part. Coming in the midst of a global pandemic when we, as people, have never felt so aware of our physical and mental vulnerability; it’s got opportunism written all over it.
However, those who know our story will recognise that this is less about a moment in time and more about the next step on our journey. BBD Perfect Storm was set up in 2013 with purpose at its core, a belief that doing good business is good for business. We set out to build and grow brands from which the world benefits.
During this time, we have helped unseat Sepp Blatter and his army of FIFA cronies. We have helped abolish Kafala Law in the Middle East, a law that permitted the exploitation of migrant workers, particularly those involved in building the infrastructure for the Qatar World Cup. More recently, we have been working with Dove Men+Care to address the toxic masculine narrative, as well as with Legal and General to inspire a much truer picture of retirement; less ‘the beginning of the end’ and more the end of the beginning. Authentic purpose from the inside out.
This might be beginning to sound like a shameless creds deck thinly veiled as a think-piece. And to a degree it is. But not necessarily for us, BBD Perfect Storm, but more the importance of specialism, of specialists, multi-specialists in fact. When we founded our business it was never to be just another start-up disillusioned by networks only then to sell to one. Equally, it was never simply about regaining control, about not being held hostage to some higher power based in New York, Paris or London. We set up to be specialists in purpose.
Aligned with that, when we set up New Macho, we only did so because it was a partnership with the remarkable Fernando Desouches, one-time global brand director of Axe and architect of a new brand positioning that looked to smash the old male stereotype. And now, we take a similar step forward with Nick and Perfect Storm Health, not simply to raise awareness of the health and wellness issues that face our world today, but to help solve them through the brands and organisations we work with - and to solve them through specialist insight, through specialist understanding, through years of experience and not simply ‘generalist’ oversight. To get to the heart of the issue, to get to the stereotypes that contribute to the problem and smash them too. To talk to Health Professionals not simply as the professionals they are, but as human beings, to look to working cultures, social cultures and popular culture and actually help.
As specialists we know it’s simply not enough to suggest taking five minutes to dunk your McVities Digestive (Since 1925) into your mug of tea to be ‘kind to your mind’. These are simply brand strategies masquerading as purposeful crusades.
Addressing the health and wellness of the world can never be a strategy in itself, but the consequence of one, one born of specialism and specialists. That’s why we have created Perfect Storm Health.
Not to jump on the bandwagon, but to be the bandwagon.