Watch the ball

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I never really got Bonfire Night as a kid...figured it was a load of fuss about nothing and got in the way of me looking forward to Christmas.

 

Now, I love it and Mash normally celebrates the evening round at ours in the back garden. That was okay when there were 12 of us but now we’re circa 60, we must break every health and safety law ever created.

 

This year, much to everyone’s chagrin, we’re at the UFI Congress from 4 to 8 November so we’re working out how we can fit in our firework fix.

What an amazing crowd puller fireworks remain, which is quite an anachronism in many ways. The level of audio-visual and special effects that is now on offer to the world is beyond anything I could have even imagined as a kid.

 

It seems that nothing is impossible and our threshold for what’s exciting, what attracts our attention, is ever increasing. Yet coloured lights in the sky and some accompanying loud noises, is still a huge winner. I think it’s quite a comforting quirk of human nature.

 

Simple pleasures and straightforward principles still work and we should never forget that.

 

Andrew Strauss (cricketer), the ex- England opening batsman, captain and now director of English cricket, used to mutter to himself as he was facing the best bowlers in the world (and indeed all bowlers). He was asked by the commentators what he was saying. He smiled and replied: “I’m telling myself to watch the ball” ...easier said than done when it’s being thrown at you at 100 mph from 20 yards away, but the simplicity of his own instruction is surely an inspiration to all of us.

 

In the last two decades, so much has happened to change how people communicate with each other that every marketing platform has had to constantly review whether it is still relevant in today’s world.

 

Human behaviour is impossible to predict and so keeping ahead is a huge challenge. We recently hear that books are up in sales for the first time in eight years; five years ago print was apparently dead, now you’re not cool if you don’t like the hard copy!

 

We’re simple creatures and basic solutions will always work.

 

Business and therefore communication is best done face-to-face. It always has been and what we have learnt in the cyber age is just how robust that model is. There have been so many things that were going to revolutionise communication and, by consequence, marketing.

 

You can stretch all the way back to the phone, fax, telex, email, internet, virtual exhibitions, video conferencing, social media...all of these were going to wipe out exhibitions and the need for face-to-face.

 

Nothing of the sort has happened; we’ve got stronger and all of these improvements have added to our strength; they are used to help our cause. This is because our basic principles sit at the very heart of how human race really communicate.

 

We want to meet people, interact, shake their hand...it’s the only way to really build any trust.

 

Watch the ball...it’s still the best advice for any sports person; in the same way, for any business relationship, Get face-to-face.

 

This article was first published in the November issue of EN. Any comments? Email Jamie Wallis

Julian Agostini
Posted by Julian Agostini
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