CAREERS: The Secret Diary of Brian The Brand Manager

You may have noticed that to all intents and purposes I stopped working on Mutant, the putative psychopop, some months ago.

You may have noticed that to all intents and purposes I stopped

working on Mutant, the putative psychopop, some months ago.

I could tell that the moment for such a product was past almost as soon

as I took up my job here. What could I do? I had just uprooted and moved

200 miles. I was hardly in a position to say, ’Sorry I don’t think you

need me anymore, I’ll just slink off quietly now to the back of a dole

queue somewhere.’

When I started the job I supposed that there would be other NPD projects

on the boil or that at least I would be responsible for developing a

coherent NPD strategy. But most of GBH’s product launches are neither

new nor developed.

’Far too expensive, drawn out and risky,’ according to the almost

infinite wisdom of the managing director.

Instead the company favours a ’rolling programme of Darwinian


What it means is taking successful products from one market - usually

another country, and flogging them unchanged in a few pubs to see how

they go. If they sell well they expand distribution until they cease to

sell well.

This approach has the virtues of speed and thriftiness. You don’t spend

years developing something people used to want when the project started,

but no longer desire. No precious shareholder value is squandered in

abortive investments. The company is never tarred with the brush of

failure. And there is always the possibility, no matter how remote, of

success. Billy Bolleaux can stand up in front of his peers and boast

about how he expects a quarter of his turnover to come from new products

within three years.

But it leaves me making no significant contribution and feeling

increasingly windy about it. So, I have decided to seize the time and do

something about it. I am embarking on a one-man work-creation scheme

within GBH.

I suppose it’s called intrapreneurship.

The other day I was talking to Donal Crass. He was complaining that no

matter how lazy he was, no matter how unimaginative or inefficient, no

matter how much the company under-invested in his XYY premium lager,

sales just keep going up and up.

’Couldn’t cock up if I tried,’ he boasted. ’The premium sector is going

bonkers. No one drinks cooking lager anymore. They just can’t get enough

and they just can’t pay enough.’

It dawned on me that there could be an opportunity if you could graft

some of the super snobbish connoisseur type values of vintage brandy,

champagne and wine onto a lager product, you could create an entirely

new ultra super premium deluxe vintage lager sector. The volume wouldn’t

be huge but the contribution would be immense and it could have some

fantastic brand extensions.

After months of drifting, I finally have a purpose. I’m going to start

some discreet lobbying, put a presentation together and go for it. I’ll

keep you informed.


Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus
Brand Republic Jobs

subscribe now


John Lewis walks consumers through its history to celebrate 150 years of business
Waitrose boosts content strategy with 'Weekend Kitchen with Waitrose' C4 tie-up
Hottest virals: Cute puppies star in Pedigree ad, plus Idris Elba and Fruyo
Amnesty International burns candles to illuminate new hope
Toyota achieves the impossible by calming angry Roman drivers
Tom of Finland's 'homoerotic' drawings made into stamps
YouTube reveals user habits to appeal to 'older' marketers
Ex-M&S marketing chief Steven Sharp consulting at WPP
Wolff Olins reveals new CEO after Apple poaches Karl Heiselman
Glasgow offers £30,000 prize to best digital idea for 2014 Commonwealth Games
Google's revenues surge but shares drop as it grapples with transition to mobile
Facebook beats Twitter to most 'marketing friendly' social media site crown, says DMA
Fableists believe children like Finn should be outdoors enjoying life
Homebase, Baileys and Camelot join the line-up at Media360
MasterCard renews Rugby World Cup sponsorship to push cashless message
Lynx unleashes £9m 'Peace invasion' campaign
Social Brands 100 Youth: Pizza Hut most social youth brand in UK
Cheryl Cole is wild and arresting in new L'Oreal work
Morrisons told not to show alcohol ads during YouTube nursery rhymes
O2 head of brand Shadi Halliwell departs after 23 years at company in restructure
Tesco hit by further sales decline as it turns to digital Clubcard and social network
Branding guru Wally Olins dies aged 83
Duracell short film captures epic Transatlantic voyage
Ash runs Tinder experiment to show smokers are less desirable to opposite sex
British Airways teams up with Gerry Cottle Jnr for summer of rooftop film screenings
Arklu says 'girls can be superheroes too' with doll design competition
Coke enters squash market with Oasis Mighty Drops
Virgin Galactic signs up Land Rover as space flight sponsor
Motorola marketer Andrew Morley departs as Google gears up for sale to Lenovo
US Airways apologises after tweeting obscene image at a customer