Friday, 6 April 2007

Part 1 of the book is online

You can now read Pt1 of the draft of my new book here

I've decided to do a separate sub-blog for each part of the book (about 7 in all). It's lost a bit of formatting and all of the footnotes/references, but otherwise hopefully it's fairly readable. I am posting these sections after I have done a first rough edit of the original draft, just to tidy it up a bit. That means I can get this in front of you for comments while I am working on the next section. Please bear in mind that I wont keep the whole book online in this form. It is a draft and also my publisher doesnt want this all online at once, or for any length of time. So if you want to read it here first, the rest of this month is your chance!

Please be a bit gentle with it. I wouldnt usually share a draft at this early unpolished stage. There will be plenty of typos and clumsy bits. I am intending to do further editing, and hopefully with help from your comments.

Finally please do comment here (I've not enabled comments where the text is as I'll be taking it down again)

Okay let the experiment in open source publishing commence

Happy Easter (anyone who is reading)




john dodds said...

First head above the parapet!

My radical thought - based on where I infer the book is going and your expressed desire to really reduce wordcount - would be that you could reduce a lot of this section. It's all good stuff but my premise is that I'm guessing marketers want to get to the prescriptive stuff based around the grid (which I think is terrific) as soon as possible.

What if you took the five points in the context section and explained each in 200-300 words - this means maybe one example of each? This, I acknowledge, is almost what you do when outlining the book structure in the introduction. I guess I'm saying I would not repeat it in a separate chapter.

Why do I say this? Well. once you've explained what you mean by green marketing which you do in the introduction, I feel that contextualising might be seen as superfluous. Moreover, a lot of it is about what not to do which, of course, is important but I think a manifesto should be about what to do.

As I write this, it isn't sounding very gentle - but you did outline a desire to greatly reduce your pages. This reader really wants to get to that grid and my personal bias is that I don't like introductions that outline the structure of the book and I tend to skip them.

You want to reduce the word-count, I suggest that you could do this by boiling this 10,000 word section down to the first couple of pages of intro as it stands, then the context in the reduced form I mentioned above and then the emphasis that the book is written for people who want to make money. That's the introduction.

Then chapter 1 is the 4 I s (which after all is a very neat encapsulation of positive reactions to the context) followed by the outlining of the grid concept.

Do this all in say 4000 words or less if possible, and you have imparted some key concepts really quickly and get the reader right into the heart of the manifesto - namely the detailed breakdown of the grid which is where your ideas about and examples of green marketing lie.

That of course may be an entirely different slant to the one you envisage and, as I say, I'm only guessing how you have filled out the structure you outline.

I'll get my coat!

John Grant said...

Thx John, I do see what you mean.

I guess I wanted marketers to understand a little of the context before leaping straight to execution (many may not really know what sustainability is, may not have understood the greenwashing issue etc.) even though that is their tendency. But it might be possible to do that in quite a distilled way and anything which saves paper is good!

Let's see what a few others say. I might try a cut down version meanwhile to see how it hangs together. Glad you liked the grid, that content is 90% of the book even if I didnt cut this down!


John Grant said...

I've hacked the whole thing into one introduction and have lost nearly half the words. The anti greenwash/green image stuff will now go into the grid 1B section of the book to avoid covering it twice.

The disadvantage is that you wont entirely be able to see what John meant as his comments refer to a previous much flabbier version. But editing is a moving target.

Do keep the comments coming


Charles Frith said...

Hi JG. Important and great work going on here. Really chuffed with the energy, thinking and ideas.

I think John Dodds comments are both constructive and valid so there's not much to add there. What I can say is that while reading through the first chapter, I became most involved with what I think are some powerful areas that might well be elaborated on.

The idea that Christmas is an annual consumer orgy of excess is such a powerful lever on the conditioning and condition of why we buy that there is surely more ideas that can spin off from this. I could read and read about that subject, the post on the Chinese authorities attempting to put the breaks on Christmas is just ace. The whole drunken excess of materialistic worship is clearly past it's sell by date and by putting meaning into the celebration rather than than the celebration into the meaning is surely the way to go. More please.

The other idea I'm in love with is that fads are created and manufactured but that shifts in social responsibility are managed. Feedback mechanisms, small steps, milestones, celebrations are all part of the process of cajoling the instincts of Mr. & Mrs average who I agree whole heartedly are a lot more sensible and willing to be responsible than others might suggest. Good intent is often under the surface in all those qual groups we've attended and if anything it's the marketing machine that has driven the cynicism and selfishness. Maybe the idea of apology somewhere in the new dialogue has currency. Authenticity can only start with an admission of guilt on the part of the consumer society stakeholders that have raked in the profits. Some hands up in the air, some contrition, hope for a new way and so on. Seems to make sense. Maybe also an admission that not all the answers are immediately evident but that tackled together they are immeasurably easier to solve and infinitely more satisfying when done as a collective effort. The victory shared is so much sweeter. Just look at post war UK society living on ration coupons for years longer than a triumph would have suggested. Maybe there is something there in the idea of tightening our belts for a collective effort too.

It's clear from this chapter too that part of the education process is to explain why we are at this crossroads. I personally didn't think the Stern report would have been published in my lifetime. But now that it's impact is reverberating around the world I'm also beginning to understand from your post how there have been milestones along the way that add to our collective consciousness of why this is beginning to create real momentum. People are often swept into herd thinking and become instant converts but the power of a real convert is so much more cogent if there is an understanding of the trigger points along the way. I'm a much more informed convert now I understand a bit more of the history. Although to be fair to myself, I can recall the exact moment as an 18 year old when I knew that the model was broken and it was just a matter of time. Enough about me, I can do that spiel ad infinitum.

You've talked about why doing the right thing and economic growth are not incompatible. I'm borderline militant about the truth of this, because it seems obvious to me that a multi billion dollar industry which isn't life saving, such as Television, which trades fundamentally in ideas and exchange of time and attention came into our lives with a much heartier embrace than greenormal (which I love btw). It's crucial that people understand that this is mega bucks business and that adapting to new models has always been a key driver of economic progress. Wealth creation is very close to this topic and I probably haven't articulated it well enough yet, but once the major industrial players figure this out with compelling and creative solutions I envisage lots of brilliant examples.

Your comment on the middle class bourgeoisie as the strongest examples of consumer apathy is spot on. I'm reminded of a quote by Tony Benn on a podcast I listened to recently (a few times). He was emphatic that all movements come from the ground up. I think he's right and the chippy part of my pre fab tertiary education (OK, I'm exaggerating) likes the idea of a call for consumer class war. Not one where heads are paraded on spikes but where corporate turnarounds towards greenormal are celebrated, rejoiced and ritualised.

Lastly the whole subject of tap water passing tests that 33 out of 40 bottled waters failed is to use the American vernacular, awesome. Isn't it akin to selling sand to the Arabs, ice to Eskimos and so on. I'm already enjoying my tap water and asking proudly for a glass at pubs and restaurants. I could read lots more about this too. It just strikes me that if the most fundamental requirement for life, even after food and sunlight has been erroneously positioned as a must have health lifestyle purchase. Well it's time to declare the marketing emperor has no clothes. And we all know how British culture has a knack for pulling down false gods.... Brilliant work here. I'm in London and hope to catch up at some point John and have a banter about this. Greenormal gives real meaning to marketing life. said...

Hello John,

Just read through the first bit.

Terrific stuff. I'm really pleased you're writing this book. I am what you might call a 'green convert' having worked with traditional advertising as an art director for many years. Several years ago I guess I made it my mission too use the skills I have (minus all those all those bad habits you mentioned that we picked up along the way) to create some sort of positive change. I too, strongly believe that marketing can become less of a part of the problem and more a part of the solution. It will be a lot easier with some sort of map even if there are a few mistakes.

I think the way you make the distiction between green marketing and 'marketing green' is good. I think a couple of the other speakers at the D&AD seminar might have benefited from it. (I managed to say hello breifly afterwards. You were being bombarded with questions at the time so I don't expect you'd remember)

I love the idea of re-designing life. Unfortunatley, I think you might be right about the need for dramatic and swift change rather than tinkering (I'm reading 'the Long Emergency' right now which puts this whole area into perspective) and I share your enthusiasm for it. Incidently, I do have an idea in this area that I'd like some feedback and advice on. Don't know if you would be up for that?(two neatly designed A4 pages in pdf form)

Anyway, great stuff. I look forward to reading more.

Raimo said...

Congrats! Can't wait for the rest!


Charles Frith said...

Just a couple more thoughts that aren't new but are surely tied in with a responsible consumption culture. I've missed out on the Innocent drinks thing and didn't realise that both the distribution is so wide and that there is even a book about the brand in the business section of the book shop. Yesterday, as I'm back in the UK (and up for Gumbo too), I was watching a clearly obese young lady drinking an Innocent drink outside a Starbucks on the high street.

I've always had a secret theory that the TV program Friends was the greatest endorsement for hanging out at coffee shops. Moreso than all that 'barista' pants. All so formulaic for me. I digress. People just love that whole I'm part of this and not an outsider. Even if everything else is about them is so incongruous.

..what am I trying to say?...

This is a bit waffly but the current state of mind is "i consume, therefore I exist" there is no greater endorsement of "being" than buying. Americans go shopping, not because they need something but because it's a leisure pursuit. This has to stop and I'm not sure how to start, but there's a causal link between consumer culture, obesity and unhappiness....not the other way round. This is surely a powerful thought to leverage. That overweight young lady, I studied her body language. It appeared on the surface to be crying out to affirm her consumer culture brand status and yet at the same time, tame the excesses of it. There's something paradoxical about all of this and yet it feels that fighting fire with fire makes sense.

I'm not sure what the mechanism to be leveraged here is but getting out nascent thoughts is a start (well it is for me anyway). Maybe it's something to do with the power of brands to promulgate a positive virtuous circle for sustainable and ethical consumption.

It's not so much "can the system be cracked?", it can, but where to start? The Christmas thing seems such a powerful start. Maybe it's about giving Christmas back to the kids. Do adults really need more stuff?

I realise this has little to do with the first chapter so forgive me if I'm waffling. It's good to talk :)

John Grant said...

huge thx to everyone for comments so far
(yes Charles lets hook up while your over)