I can't deny that I'm pissed off that, having taken 30 years of risk to forge a business, create jobs and generate millions in tax revenues for the government, I now have to pay even more tax to compensate for other people's cock-ups. What happened to the theory of risk and reward?
However, this is where we are and I'm not going to waste any more time or energy moaning about it. This climate's here to stay, garnished as it is with a daunting helping of pandemics, food scares, terrorism, global warming and so on.
So, what to do? I believe we should make like Baloo the bear and just 'Get with the beat, Baggy'. We need to have the mindset that we will win while others will fail.
Keep calm and carry on
The challenge with anxiety is that it can be debilitating. Watch any football match and the team that's a goal down in the last five minutes will always lump the ball upfield, hoping someone will score an equaliser. The same desperate tactics happen in business, where the default strategy is to press the 'sales' button. Marketing ideas go out of the window and sales tactics kick in. There was a time when high-street sales took place only in January. Now the big sales begin in December and are followed by monthly discount bonanzas thereafter.
In tricky times, we do have to stick to our game plan. That game plan needs to be fluid, yet focused, as the only constant in these challenging times is change. We can't let ourselves get herded into default comfort zones or distracted by what the competition is doing. I see so many businesses clambering aboard the Facebook or Twitter express, just because everybody else has. Yes, move with the times, but blindly following the flock isn't the answer. In fact, it's a waste of valuable resources at a time when they really need to be focused.
Play to your strengths
Best Buy, the US electronics retailer, on the other hand, has developed a Twitter strategy that's a perfect driver to build brand loyalty and beat its online counterparts. The TWELP Force ('help on Twitter') is a neat idea that combines Best Buy's 'blue shirt' in-store colleagues and its Geek Squad to help customers at home on any aspect of their purchasing, from making the best purchase decision to how to wire up the DVD player. TWELP Force is a natural, value-added, focused and flexible brand extension that amplifies the retailer's expertise - as opposed to the meaningless feed of gibberish you get from so many corporate Facebook and Twitter pages.
Don't just please people's wallets
In anxious times, brands should be showing support and understanding, and providing succour. The Best Buy example is mainly a rational antidote, but emotional antidotes are equally compelling. Look at how popular nostalgia is becoming. The Fiat 500 and the Mini are two good examples. These 60s icons, reframed with a contemporary twist, remind us of the good old days when we all felt safer and happier. Even in the world of technology, we're seeing cameras and radios with a 50s look, while retro Adidas and Puma trainers seem to be more popular today than ever.
Do something different
Other antidotes are brands that make us smile and touch people in a way that gets them talking - Comparethemarket's meerkats, for example. Or Coca-Cola's Happiness Machines. Part of the company's 'Open happiness' message, these special vending machines treated unsuspecting people in New York and London to goodies such as flowers, sunglasses and pizza. Coke then filmed people's happy reactions and turned them into hugely popular virals.
The point is that only one brand will win the sales war because only one can be the cheapest. Everyone else has to do something different. And I'd argue that that difference is not a rational one, but an emotional one.
The power of design can go a long way in helping brands be that 'something different'. By building this emotional appeal into their design strategy, it becomes an intrinsic part of, and true to, their brand, instead of a bolted-on 'me too' afterthought.
So let's quit moaning about the status quo. Let's stop blindly jumping on trendy bandwagons. Let's start giving people what they need - an antidote to their anxiety, using our brand power as the vehicle.
Name Jonathan Sands
Job Chairman, Elmwood
Career highlights Getting my OBE for services to the creative industries in 2010. Elmwood being voted a Sunday Times 'Top 100 Company to Work For'. And last, but not least, being a part of the Asda success story for more than 25 years.
Your style Loyal, driven and inconsistent.
Favourite gadget My Swiss Army penknife - I take it everywhere.
What keeps you up at night? I could worry for England, so most nights are restless nights - be it worrying about a colleague, a client or my family.
Which style icon would you be? Jose Mourinho looks super-cool and doesn't give a monkey's what people think of him, all the while delivering results. Sadly, the only thing we have in common is grey hair.