2 Types Of Goal

This blogpost is also available as a podcast.

In his book ‘Winners And How They Succeed’, former government communications chief Alistair Campbell sets out the method he uses for getting what he wants.

His system is based around ‘Objective – Strategy – Tactics’ and it’s one we can all follow.

‘Objective’ is the main outcome, the goal, the thing you want.

For example, ‘to win the football match’, ‘to get a particular job’, ‘to reach a specific weight’.

The strategy is a very simple, broad equation, perhaps consisting of only 2 simple components but it’s important you don’t overlook this.

For example, in football, ‘keep possession and score more goals than the other side’.

For health and fitness, ‘eat less, exercise more’.

And then the tactics, under each element of the strategy could be ‘join the gym, stop having takeaways on Friday nights, walk to work’ and so on.

The tactics are likely to change from time to time but the strategy and the objective would largely be set.

This method allows you to see at a glance the big picture – the overall principle, how you’re going to get the result you want – as well as the individual elements, the tactics.. the work you do on the ground, some of which might work, some of which won’t and you can change things around but still operating within the same strategy.

2 football managers might have completely conflicting tactics but totally agree on strategy.

Most people miss out ‘strategy’ all together and fail to properly break down their objective into simple component parts. So they never properly understand what it’s going to take to achieve the goal. If you don’t get the strategy straight, the tactics become undisciplined, random ideas, and you can’t be sure they’re contributing to getting what you want.

Something else to keep in mind with goal setting is the fact that you can only control your own actions.

You go for a job and have no idea who the other candidates are and what they’re doing. You can’t be sure the recruiter hasn’t already decided on a favourite. Winning a football match becomes tougher if your best player gets injured in the first 5 minutes, a perfectly good goal is disallowed or someone on the opposing team cheats.

A good tactician would be able to adapt of course but it still might not be enough.

So we should have a mixture of outcome goals and process goals, to allow for the fact while doing the right things can help achieve the outcome we want, we can never be certain and doing all the right things but missing the target should still count as success on some level.

It’s easy to think about this with sport so we’ll look at that first.

My goal this year is to swim 100 metres freestyle in under 1 minute 5 seconds. Last year’s goal was under 1 minute 10. I hit that and my best time now stands at 1 minute 7.6.

So 1 minute 5 is my outcome goal.

The processes around that are my healthy eating and training regime.

So I’ll attend training a minimum of 3 times a week.
I’ll take part in at least 4 competitions this year.
I’ll be in bed, with the lights out, ready to sleep by 11pm each week night.
I’ll spend one hour a week doing yoga to increase my flexibility.

And so on.

In Alistair Campbell’s model these would be tactics.

But they’re also good examples of ‘process goals’.

And the idea is that if I follow the correct process, I give myself credit even if I miss the goal. These things SHOULD help me get what I want, but they might not. I could get injured. Or have a bad start in the race. If that was the case, I might make ‘spend 10 minutes practicing starts at the end of every training session’ a new process or tactic.

I’m not sure what you think about how best to reward ourselves when we hit a process goal. Is it just a warm glow of satisfaction, a pat on the back? Or do you go and buy yourself something you like? Which could become expensive, is it a slippery slope to reward yourself with chocolate for following a healthy eating programme? What do you do? It doesn’t need to be much and it’ll vary for everyone but some sort of recognition is important.

It becomes harder when we look at business. Or relationships.

But again, breaking things down into a small number of principles, and then perhaps a half dozen or so processes is the key.

So, the objective, or outcome goal is a profit figure. The strategy would be ‘spend less, earn more’ and the tactics and processes could be ‘sign 1 new client a month’, ‘attend business networking every week’, ‘include a picture with every Facebook post’, ‘file my expenses claim once a month and be sure not to miss anything out’.

People sometimes set goals and then sneer at the idea of writing them down.

They think it’s some kind of weak or desperate move to keep them motivated and they worry about this ‘goal’ taking over their lives. It’s not like that. The idea of writing things down and keeping it accessible is so that you can see at a glance what works and what doesn’t and change things that aren’t working or are no longer needed.Think of it like a map. It’s a way of making sure the little things you do every day are continuing to take you exactly where you want to go.

As you set out on this new year, it might be that where you want to go changes too. And that’s fine. Maybe you don’t know where you want to go. That’s fine too – why not set a goal – just pick anything – something you’d like to achieve before January is out. Not a big thing, just a simple, personal, everyday thing.

Articulate it, break it down to a simple 2 part equation and then develop a variety of tactics to support that. Write it down and try it and evaluate and tweak it as you go along. If the system works, think bigger and go through it again for bigger things you want.

Despite what some of the self help gurus might tell you, the universe couldn’t care less whether it ‘works for you’ or not.

But you can work for you.

And you can start right now.

I hope 2018 is a happy, healthy and successful one for you.

Client Focus: BG Family Law

Here they are, the team at our latest client BG Family Law.

They’re based in Hamilton and Blantyre and operate across Family Law, Estates and Conveyancing and more.

There’s a wealth of experience in the firm and a real commitment to customer care, recognising that many of their clients come to them at a time of significant stress and difficulty.

Emma and I are delighted to be working with them on their social media channels, digital marketing strategy and mainstream media profile.

Visit their website if you need any legal advice in the Lanarkshire area.


The End Of Net Neutrality

Sounds boring and likely won’t mean any change in the short term.

But what could it mean?

The worst case scenario would be a huge content creator joining forces with a huge infrastructure provider and the new entity exerting controls over who sees what and when and what they pay.

You might call it an ‘unequal internet’ where some benefit from blazing fast access and others crawl along. Where more people ‘can’t afford’ to get online and where certain content is prioritised over others. Where there’s a stream and a tariff for gamers and another for box set viewers and maybe even another for those with particular political views.

In the late 1980s content provider World Wrestling Federation told cable companies they wouldn’t be able to show its ‘Royal Rumble’ pay per view if they chose to show its rival WCW’s event ‘Starrcade’. In theory, the end of net neutrality would allow a broadband provider to do similar, for example, not to allow its customer’s access to Netflix because they were working in co-operation with Disney.

At the moment, everyone involved insists they’d never go down this road. And they’d be foolish to because the public wouldn’t like it and it would cost these companies. But what happened yesterday means that there’s no law preventing them doing so.

And it speaks volumes about a government’s attitude towards the internet.

What is it? A basic right? A utility? Or a commodity?

Now we know.

The Thing About The Extra Mile

The thing about ‘going the extra mile’ is that it’s rarely as far as a mile.

More often, it’s merely a little bit extra. A thought, a helping hand, a smile. A good habit.

Richer Sounds in Glasgow paid for my Dad’s parking.

The Lego Store in Leicester Square gave me an extra toy for my sons because I’d had a longer wait in the queue.

The car dealership vacuumed the inside of my car when they serviced it.

These things make a big difference and earn you a reputation as someone who ‘goes the extra mile’.

But go there often enough and it stops being ‘the extra mile’ and starts being ‘just the way we do things’.

And that makes you better. Maybe even unique.

You could decide right now to do 11 reps on every exercise instead of 10. What would that look like in your business?

10 Classic Paisley Town Centre Shops

With the 2021 City of Culture bid in and various efforts gathering pace bringing a buzz back to the town centre, let’s look back on some of my favourite shops from Paisley’s past. Could we take inspiration from some of them and kick start a retail renaissance?

10 – Jeans For Sale
An early tenant of the Paisley Centre, this was part of a nationwide chain that sold jeans (obviously) and jackets. Joe Bloggs, Benzini, NAF NAF and maybe even Kappa were all the rage. A small selection of mix tapes from raves could be found near the tills.

9 – Temptations
I never set foot in it but this was a women’s clothes shop just past the New Street cut off at the top end of the high street. When I was 13, one of my school friends got a Saturday job here and I thought she was terribly grown up and sophisticated. She was. I wasn’t, and various attempts at romance were rejected. Hope life is treating you well Gillian.

8 – Stereo One
I’d have lived in here in the early 90s if I could have. Completely ignored the downstairs bit and went straight upstairs to the dance/rave/techno section where I’d spend ages browsing the import only 12 inch vinyl like I new what I was doing and then walk out with a KLF CD single.

7 – Pitcher’s Sports
The building is now a dilapidated shell down Moss Street but for generations this was an essential visit. I got swimming trunks, darts, footballs and trainers from here and always enjoyed a good look round. They had printing hear too and could personalise tracksuits with your name on the back. Suffered greatly as some bloke from Ayrshire expanded his own sports retail chain. Sadly missed.

6- Rub A Dub Records
Now located in Glasgow’s Howard Street round from the St Enoch Centre it’s a little known fact that this top notch dance music and equipment retailer started out in Glen Street in Paisley. Its famous Native American logo and deliberate avoidance of all things commercial told you this was a serious music store.

 5 – John Menzies
Originally at the top of New Street, this well known retailer made a smart move into the former Woolworth’s store on the High Street in the late 80s, before selling up to WH Smith about 10 years later. The high street store was fantastic was a large music and games department upstairs. A sign of how things change – WH Smith has had the upstairs section closed for at least 15 years and now accommodates the post office too. Menzies saw the decline of retail and were well ahead of the game. Their distribution vans still pull up everyday delivering the goods that WH Smith try to sell. Now that’s smart.

4 – Tandy
You’d find this electrical components retailer in the pre-revamp Piazza. It’s where I bought my first audio mixer as my mobile DJ career began and my Dad bought the parts for the speakers he built me. Microphones, disco lights, soldering irons…you could get it all. The closest thing we have today would be Maplin. Maybe they’d consider opening in Paisley?

3 – Q96 FM
Not a shop of course but the premises they occupied at 26 Lady Lane gave me one of the best experiences of my life. It’s where my career in paid employment began, reading news and sports bulletins at weekends and progressing to full-time employment. Under-resourced, under marketed and probably never fully appreciated until long after they’d sold up and left town as a young boy growing up on the outskirts of Paisley being able to access a 24 hour local radio station was a dream. Struggled to gain local businesses as advertisers through the various recessions but with the Paisley Daily Express long ago shutting their office, surely there’s a place for a local media producer? There’s various interest in a potential community licence and as a vehicle for bringing the whole town together, it may well find a place.

2 – McDougall Brothers Books
Hard to believe that for a while, in the early 90s, Paisley supported 2 full-on book stores. McDougalls on Moss Street which I think is now a food shop aimed at the Polish community, was joined for a while by Hatchards just up the road. The competition was short-lived and I think damaged both. Older generations than mine remember McDougall’s very fondly and even as a 9 year old picking up the latest Roald Dahl it always felt like a good, reliable shop with staff that cared. Greatly missed.

1 – Wimpy
More recently Burger King and then an embarrassing empty space for what seemed like an eternity this is surely a prime retail spot on the high street. Just up from Paisley Cross and smack in the middle as you walk up from the railway station. I had birthday parties in here, met early girlfriends, persuaded my Mum to take us in for tea if were were dragged in on an after school shopping trip…and you always need a place to get a good burger. BK took things up a gear by opening the basement for a while but a slow decline began and for reason’s I’m unable to fathom but that McDonald’s no doubt agree with, operators of multi national fast food premises seem unable to make it work in Paisley in the current climate. What was Wimpy is now the HQ of the Paisley 2021 bid team, I’d like to see it thrive again…maybe as the site of a new community media venture one day?

The Problem With Half-Baked Blogs

Last week, a friend mentioned a business I hadn’t heard of before.

And the first thing I did?

Looked up their website.

Of course it was perfectly slick and visually impressive but what about the people behind this business? Were they everything they claimed to be? Could I trust them? What were they really like? Were they busy and doing well, do they know what they’re talking about or was it all just bluster? Is the business run by local people that know this area or is it a big organisation down south that’s been able to get to the top of the Google rankings?

The website itself couldn’t give me all the answers, so I looked deeper.

And this is something I do on almost every website of every business I look at – I clicked on the page titled ‘Blog’.

It’s there I often get better insight into what things are really like. And if the page is ‘half-baked’ – e.g. says simply ‘coming soon’ or there’s one post from April 2012, another from July 2014 and nothing since, then for me it can set alarm bells ringing.

Of course there’s often a very good reason why a blog can be half-baked, for example the business owner is too busy getting on with work to sit down and write one and there have been times I’ve been in that position myself.

So, if you’ve got a ‘Blog’ page on your website, ask yourself if you really are committed to it. Do you want to keep it? Are you prepared to update it – at least once a month? If you’re not, take it down, because a half-baked blog makes you look bad.

A good blog can be a highly effective and low cost form of marketing. It can explain who you are and what you do, attract the right sort of customer, educate them a little in terms of how you like to do business, and, crucially, bring in enquiries while you’re busy working.

Many business owners I know like to use ‘ghost writing’ blogging services in conjunction with their own efforts. This means the ghost writing service might create 2-3 posts a week, while the business owner might manage one a month. It saves time and gets content published but I always worry about the loss of the authentic voice. As a customer, I like to know that what I’m reading some straight from the mind of the business owner and I do think audiences can spot a fraud.

Of course there are good and bad blogging services and a good one should be able to understand what you would be saying and how you’d say it if you were writing every post yourself, and so audiences couldn’t tell the difference. Whatever you decide, I think it’s important to do at least SOME of the blogging yourself.

Many of us have been sold this myth that a blog post someone has to be equivalent in length to an essay. It doesn’t! Some of the best blogs I read are extremely short. A nice rule of thumb is one thought = one blog. And if you can do that in a couple of sentences…well done!

The key is to add value. To give your audience something useful, interesting, humorous…get it right and you’ll start enjoying the writing and, I hope, see some interesting new opportunities emerging for your business.

Personal Space

The DJ David Mueller who sued Taylor Swift claiming she got him the sack had his case thrown out last week.

And now a jury has found in favour of Swift’s countersuit that the radio host subjected her to a sexual assault, grabbing her bum while she posed for photos with fans at a meet and greet.

Amidst the discussion and coverage, much of which has been accurate and helpful and some of which hasn’t, an interesting piece of evidence from Taylor’s mother Andrea has perhaps been overlooked.

Here’s part of what she said during her testimony:

‘One of the things I think that stuck with me [about that night] was that [Taylor] couldn’t believe that after the incident, after he grabbed her, that she thanked him for being there.
She said thank you. It was destroying her that she said that after someone did that to her. It made me question why I taught her to be so polite in that moment.’

Here’s a woman, at work, behaving like the professional she is, appreciating the fans and industry representatives who’ve helped her achieve the success she has enjoyed, the complete antithesis of the stereotypical ‘pop star diva’ throwing a strop over the mineral water not being the correct temperature, suffering a gross invasion of her personal space, a sexual assault and still ending up fighting that instinct that she owes him something.

And then Taylor and her mother had the issue of how to deal with the matter. In testimony, Andrea said they didn’t want publicity. Taylor didn’t want this issue to define her and predicted a myriad of internet memes about ‘Taylor Swift’s Ass’ – you only need to look at Google Trends and a glance through Twitter to see their fears were well founded.

This should not be framed by anyone as an entertainment story and it’s only due to the vagaries of the US legal system (and the actions of Mueller, the perpetrator who had the gall to raise the original action) that this entire case was heard in a civil court rather than a criminal one.

I’ve heard it said that men who commit these sorts of offences towards women do so out of a sense of entitlement. And this – doing it and then trying to violate her again by suing when his actions led to the loss of his job – seems a powerful example of exactly what they mean.

But maybe it also gives those of us who need it some further insight into how it must feel for women on the receiving end of this. From being grabbed, to wolf whistles, revenge porn, inappropriate comments on Linkedin and all the rest…if someone of Taylor Swift’s stature has to fight an instinct that says ‘thank you’ for attending the meet and greet…how much harder and more confusing must it be for others? And maybe we should all be more supportive of those who do call this behaviour out for what it is.

Facebook Messenger Shortcut

Some businesses have an audience that demands instant interaction.

If I’m booking a table at a restaurant, a taxi, or perhaps a haircut, I want to do it NOW.

And if your business makes that process super easy, rather than forcing me to call or email, then you may well get more business.

Facebook wants those enquiries and transactions to take place on ITS platform and is trying to make that an attractive option to you and your customers.

Go into your business page settings, choose the ‘Messaging’  area and download your business ‘Messenger Code’.

You can then upload that code to any webpage, blog, business card, shop window – anywhere you like.

When a Facebook Messenger user finds your code and scans it with their mobile phone, Messenger will automatically open and begin a conversation between the customer and your business.

You can try it with my page right now – open the Messenger app, scan the code below and ask me anything you want about media relations, PR or social media.

Media Relations Training Instant Messaging



This Is Really Weird…

A post in my Facebook news feed led me to this blog, so I started reading it.

And as I read, I could hear a voice in my head, reading it along with me.

But who’s voice was it?

It was as clear as a bell. The tone, the rhythm, inflection, the sentence structure, the words used; the entire style of the piece was something I’d encountered before and here was the ‘voice’ reading it along with me.

But who’s voice was it?

Not Larry Page, I knew that, I’ve never heard him speak.

It nagged away at me while I read the article over a couple of times.

And then it hit me.

It was the voice of Matt Cutts, in this video where he explains how Google decides what to show you in its search results.

So how does this happen? How does Larry Page’s writing end up with Matt Cutts’ voice in my head?

We’ll discuss this in more detail soon. For now, let’s just say that it seems to me that Google has absolutely nailed a house style of writing.

BBC Commonwealth Voices On The Earshot Creative Review Podcast

Last month I presented a programme on the BBC’s pop up radio station for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games and I blogged about the whole experience a couple of weeks back.

Shortly after that, I was asked to take part in the excellent Earshot Creative Review podcast, which has now been published and features me telling the story of BBC Commonwealth Voices, in between some excellent discussion about radio station imaging and the importance of jingles.

Give it a listen here and as well as my bits (including me revealing a very grandiose ambition), there’s also Tony Blackburn and Mark Goodier!