The Things I Think, See & Like – Marketing, Technology & Life!

The end of an era at Manchester United

When I was young my first memories of football and a football club were of Manchester United. My elder cousin had his room papered with cut outs of Red Devil players across the ages, team shots, scarves and there wasn’t an empty space to be found. Being the influential younger brother and also being at the age of wanting to fit in everywhere I very quickly found a love for Manchester United.

Over the years I grew to love this team on my own accord, through watching them in their amazing days with the likes of Cantona, Ince, Scholes, Beckham, Schmeichel and Giggs. The hours spent in the park both in and out of school were spent as Kankelskis, Hughes, Solskjaer putting goals past anyone that would try to defend me.

In my teens I was lucky enough to get taken to a European Champions League game at the Theatre of Dreams when United took on Dynamo Kiev. The impression that night left on me about football, Manchester United have stayed with me until now. The size of the stadium, the lights glowing in the night sky and how different watching football live looks to watching it on the TV. The football that night was spectacular but the noise and reactions were ‘electric’ and that atmosphere is what I feel and think of when I think back to that day. Shortly after I got my own shirt with my name on it and from that day whenever I played football I wore that shirt.

As my life turned to Cricket I watched football more than played it and always caught big games with close friends and family. It was nice having those around me support United too and even more interesting now having my wife supporting the other reds, Liverpool, always makes for good banter.

Every now and then I get an offer from a family member to go to Old Trafford and due to commitments I’ve been unable to go until last week. It all worked out and we got to go watch the ultimate reds vs blues game, United vs Chealsea. The journey, the atmosphere and the stadium brought back so many memories but this time there was a difference. This time I noticed the sheer power of one club, but more specifically one man on not only the people of Manchester but people all over the world.

Sir Alex Ferguson, manager of United for 27 years who was sat directly opposite me on the other side of the pitch, has been the manager all the years I’ve had a connection to the club and that one man, with the support of many others I’m sure has made 22 men kicking a ball around in Manchester on a 100m pitch, the biggest team and club in the world.

Football in general is regarded as a religion in some parts of the work but when we went to Asia recently it was amazing at the influence and support the club had from people wearing the shirts to tall sky scrappers with players and the logo on the side of them.

From a branding perspective it’s the ultimate brand to want to be part of. Anything you can think of can be branded and probably has been. I’ve had numerous conversations about how good companies must be to have their supporters, their customers in essence, want to buy everything brand related down to their birthday cake, bed-sheets and more amazingly get tattoos!

Now that he is retiring I think it will be a very long time until we see such an achievement, dedication and longevity in a manager and whether this affects the club’s future or not will be seen in the next few years. He said that he left the club in the best possible state which is true but once at the top it’s hard to sustain that. Some of Sir Alex’s achievements:

He won the English Title an amazing 13 times. In the 1998-1999 Season he won the English Title, FA Cup, and Champions League all in the same season.

He won the FA Cup 5 times. He was the longest serving Manager in United history and has Won 38 Trophies with the Utd. Won the League Cup 4 times.

He signed Eric Cantona for only £1.2 million and received an OBE in 1983 (the year I was born). Won the Champions League twice. He sold Cristiano Ronaldo to Real Madrid for £80 million Won 10 Premiership Manager of the Year awards. Has over a 59% Win percentage with Man Utd. United has scored over 2,700 goals with him in charge.

Has won a total of 49 trophies as a Manager and He has won 894 Games with United.

Since he retired we’ve seen Paul Scholes and David Beckham hang up their boots, this really is the end of an era at Old Trafford.

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Stunning Singapore

I’ve been meaning to write about my recent trip to Singapore for a while now and haven’t quite got around to it.The reason for this was not only because of time but more the fear of finding the right words to explain the experience this amazing country has to offer. When I’ve been talking to people about my 3 week trip around Asia (Singapore, KL, Cambodia, Phuket & Bangkok) the words amazing, incredible, life changing always seem to come up.

Going on holiday has always given me a chance to stop and reflect, questions life, where I am, what I’m doing and some have more impact than others. Places like South America and India especially, always make be very humble and grateful for the lifestyle we live in the UK and also the upbringing I’ve had. I didn’t know fully what to expect of Asia having had the desire to go for many years, I didn’t fully appreciate the extent that it was going to impact me.

I could write pages and pages on the things we did and what was good and bad (the bad list is not very long) but the place that really stood out to me was Singapore. (The rest is on TripAdvisor)

From my understanding people’s vision of Singapore is different and this is down to whether you went more than 5 years ago or less, as they are two very different places now. The stats and figures around Singapore themselves are impressive:

Before you even get into the city you reach the airport: Changi Airport has over 420 accolades, it’s been nominated as the worlds best airport for the last 25 years and there’s no questions why. It’s spacious, clean, and just a beautiful building.

Singapore is a rapidly growing city-state of nearly 6 million people. It is one of the smallest countries in the world. The government have created almost a game like city with everyone living together in harmony. With so many people living together and so many expats entering the country this can be hard but the defined areas like Little India, Chinatown, Arab Street which are so defined in their feel, smell of the country they represent are an example of how well they’ve organised the city.

To get a taste of these areas we went to Little India for lunch and had a very traditional vegetarian meal, went to Chinatown to shop and visit the beautifully peaceful pagoda followed by shisha in Arab street at night. We felt like we’d been around the world in 12 hours it was incredible. The thing I also really like is that they celebrate every religion’s festivals and the whole place gets a day off and everyone is encouraged to celebrate as they decorate the entire city. This is a push towards their ‘one community’ and I think it’s a great way to make everyone feel included.

Singapore is an extremely green city with gardens, trees and jungles everywhere. They are transforming into a “city in a garden”, a current government campaign. It’s also very clean due to its littering laws.It was extremely impressive to see how clean the whole place is kept. Granted if you know you’re going to get fined then you wouldn’t chew gum. Most people think that this is excessive but being in such a clean place was such a nice feeling that you can see the benefits to everyone for this.

One thing i didn’t know was that the country sits just 85 miles North of the equator and the temperate is always hot. Their seasons are hot & dry and hot & rainy and when the rain comes, it’s extremely heavy. It does mainly only rain for a bit, well it did when we were there, for a few minutes. The thunder and lightning is actually scary here especially if you’re high up in a building and because so many buildings get hit by lightning they have conductors to deal with the electricity. The lowest minimum recorded temperature ever is Singapore was 68F and that was 80 years ago!

All these great things aside the main thing that blew me away was the marketing activity in Singapore. I guess like any other big city, London, New York, Paris that you expect to see a lot of activity and having a marketing head means that I notice a lot more. What I loved the most about Singapore was the use of lights and water. Most of the impressive features around Singapore involved lights and water. The city didn’t only come to life at night it came to light at night. On St Paddy’s day for example of one the buildings in the business district had 4 leafed cloves going up the building in lights.

Clarke Quay which offers water into the central built up areas of the city reflects the buildings giving great colours and atmosphere to the entire area. The Crane water and light show was a key example of this, the free show had massive cranes (to represent the construction growth in Singapore) light up and blast water from them whilst cleverly using a huge screen on their chest area to tell the story. Equally as good was the water and light show that projected the cycle of life from being born through to death on the huge amounts of water mist the fountains created.

The hugely impressive Marina Bay Sands which was 3 sky scrapper hotels with a boat on top, holding the worlds largest infinity pool put on a light show every night with laser beams and different colours. It was just superb.

From a marketing perspective it seems like the creativity will never run out of places to be exploited and the development is endless.

People ask me what the highlight of the whole trip was and it’s hard to say because all experiences were so different, however Singapore as a whole was definitely at the top of that list. It’s expensive and very regimented but you can see why, you can see the benefits of it and for those that are contemplating going or have never thought about it, take it from me it’s a MUST.

Granted this read more like a TripAdvisor report on Singapore but I had to share the lasting impression that beautiful place left on me.

Happy Reading!



The difference a Name makes…

Being fond of brands and noticing the choices that marketeers and designers make keeps my mind busy most of the time. This little ‘nod’ to coffee kings Starbucks is for an activity they’ve been doing for a while and the impact this small change made can’t go unmentioned on my blog.

People have mixed emotions about super huge organisations, the view that they don’t care/are only in it for the money and on the other side I love the lengths that companies go to in order to get in front of you, help the world etc. I saw a video on YouTube yesterday about the CEO of Nestle saying that as his role is to continually think of new ideas and create profits they are looking into privatising water. His argument is so ridiculous that I can see why people dislike these multinationals.

But sometimes it’s OK to like big companies especially when they give you that fuzzy feeling. Starbucks have always caught my eye, even though I’ve been drinking less coffee over the last year (It has nothing to do with them just be trying to be good.) Having recently been into the Kuala Lumpur and Singapore Starbucks and seeing how similar some of the things are but then how different they are (to UK stores) really impressed me.

This regional variation is not like McDonald’s, who have no vegetarian choices in Egypt for some reason or how the beef is replaced for lamb in India, where you feel like you’re in some other chain all together. This regional variation is the feel that you get when you walk into a Starbucks, the service, the layout, the process is so familiar and comfortable but then the tea is green and the coffee is different. The normally muffin is a blueberry and cheese muffin and a whole load of other unusual food items.

To be more poignant, the impressive part in all this is re-creating that feeling to that level of detail but subtly making it it’s own. This is a very difficult thing to do correctly.

But this is not the reason for this blog. The reason for this blog is the small change that some genius had within Starbucks to ask for your name when you place your order. For all these years, baristas have been shouting out latte’s and frappe’s in the hope you guess the right one and on quite a few occasions I myself have picked up the wrong one.

The person taking your order picks up the cup, as they were going to, they write on there what you want and with pen in hand, the 3 seconds it takes for them to ask your name and put it on the cup, changes the whole experience. ‘They want to know my name?’ and in a few minutes someone will call my name to give me my drink. This personal touch may seem minor but they haven’t been doing it since it’s started in 1971 (established in Seattle), where like Costa and Nero you just get your drink, here they call you by your name and it’s the smallest but most powerful tool. People (sad like me) take pictures of it and use it as their cover picture on Facebook, others use it as a cheeky ice breaker to chat to someone they’ve seen in the same place every day but didn’t know their name…

The video to support the campaign explains it in a great way –

Making the impersonal personal. It’s campaigns and ideas that make marketeers kick themselves, going – I wish I’d have thought of something so simple as that (like every song writer wished that they could write a song a simple and genius as The Script’s Man Who Can’t Be Moved.) Granted as with most campaigns there are some things that don’t go to plan, like addressing the new multicultural world we live in and the names that come with that. So at first my name came out as ‘Christoph’ rather than Pritesh, then to help I thought I’d shorten it to Pritz and well you can image what I received on day…. yup it actually happened. But either way you don’t mind because it’s meant for YOU and that fuzzy feeling washes everything else away.

I’d love to work for a brand like Starbucks and seeing things like this inspire me more!

Happy Reading!



Boosted by YouTube, Online Video Booming in the UK

It’s been said that Video is the next phase of communication and we’re starting to see the figures to back that up!


Around two-thirds of all UK internet users watch video online, and the time spent with video continues to rise

The world’s most popular video site marked its eighth birthday in February 2013. YouTube, owned by Google since 2006, now boasts over 800 million viewers around the world each month.

And tens of millions of these video viewers live in the UK. The UK’s Office for Communications (Ofcom) reported that 63% of the country’s internet users watched video online in August 2012.

Engagement with online video is rising. According to Experian Hitwise, online video viewing accounted for 5% of all UK web usage in February this year. UK residents made 1.06 billion visits to video sites that month, compared to 868 million in February 2012. In the two years since February 2011, the number of visits to video websites rose by an estimated 71%.

UK viewers are also spending more time with…

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Getting Started

So after years of loving brands, working in marketing and having worked on a variety of campaigns I thought I’d start a blog to not only archive the things I find, see and love but to also share them. As well as my love of brands, marketing I have a love for technology. Almost every other day I come across a fact, video, picture or thought that literally blows my mind. We’re living in a world of speedy evolution with a million options, a million views and staying on top of that, capturing it all can be tough, so sometimes hearing it (or reading it) from someone you know makes it a bit easier.

So enjoy my blog – share like and feedback… it’s how we grow….

Happy Reading!

The first picture below is where I am right now. Marketing Manager at a company called Citibase who provide serviced office space to start-ups and SME’s. It’s a lot of fun with a lot of areas to get involved in. I’ll share some of my activities with you in the near future. Image

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