Get the little things right and the rest will follow

Are you a Big Picture person? I’m sure you are. So am I. In fact, in this age of blue-sky thinking and outside-the-box paradigm shifts,  it’s difficult when we see a passing bandwagon to resist the temptation to jump right on. So Big Picture it is. The trouble is, we often don’t zoom in and see the small details that make up the big picture. And the details are important. Just recently I’ve been struck by how those small details really make a difference. But they’re so small, so obvious and so un-Big Picture-ish that we often forget them.


Now that Easter has passed, the traditional DIY (do-it-yourself) season is upon us. Out come the Black & Decker Workmates, angle-grinders and power drills up and down the county. And casualty departments steel themselves for an epidemic of self-inflicted wounds. So it’s time for the big DIY stores to advertise. As Homebase, the UK chain, did in the the UK’s most popular magazine, Radio Times. 15% off all products for 2 days, the white-0n-orange advert screamed at me. It was right in the middle of the mag. And those two days? Saturday 7th and Sunday 8th May. And the date of the page at the centre of the Radio Times? Monday 9th May. The magazine sells a million copies every week, so this insert wasn’t cheap. But one day late is one day too late. Lesson 1: timing is everything. Get that wrong, and everything is wrong.

What were you saying again?

We have short attention spans, assaulted as we are every day by adverts, tweets, friend feeds and text messages. Kate and Wills knew that. Which is why they delayed their honeymoon. They got married in the glare of the world’s media, with 2 billion pairs of eyes glued to their every move. So what did they do? They stopped, waited and let the hoopla die down. Because they, or their media-savvy advisers, knew that we’d quickly move on. And so we did. Bin Laden was taken out, Nick Clegg took a drubbing at the polls, AV was voted down in the UK’s first referendum in 36 years and Seve Ballesteros died. Wedding? What wedding? So this week the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge slipped quietly away to enjoy some quality time without the press pack snapping at their heels. Lesson 2: when attention spans are short, get in early and often (regular mailshots, email newsletters, blog posts). Or lie low let the storm pass (bad news, rumours, product recalls).


He should have known better. Famed for his brutally direct questions to ashen-faced guests, Andrew Marr really should have realised he was on thin ice. And sooner or later, it would crack. Which is exactly what happened a couple of weeks ago, when the TV presenter came clean and admitted that he’d tried to protect his privacy with a so-called ‘super injunction’ (aka gagging order). His colleagues in the commentariat wasted no time in pointing out his hypocrisy. And the blogosphere was even less forgiving, tearing him to shreds with obvious relish. In the wake of the super-injunction furore came a slew of claims and counter-claims on Twitter about who’s been sleeping with whom (and trying to hush it up). Cue denials, embarrassment and outrage – and all in 140 characters. Jemima Khan was splashed on all the front pages, as she denied being involved romantically with Jeremy Clarkson. True of false? In the crazy, fast-paced world of social media, it almost doesn’t matter. Lesson 3: suggestion is powerful, so use that to your advantage (to persuade, cajole, entice and convert – clients, I mean). But don’t stretch the truth or deny too much (it’s counter-productive). Find out more: