Monday, 26 March 2012

My three favourite moments of business genius


When you’re working from home you rarely have a huge marketing budget and it seems to me that when companies have lots of money to spend it’s so often wasted.

I’m preparing to launch my new novel Working from home and while planning my marketing I remembered some excellent examples that have inspired me, so I thought I would share them.

Apologies for the lack of detail in some parts, not very professional of me, but my references are still packed away in boxes pending our house move. The genius of these schemes will still shine through.

Number 3 – Richard Branson getting free video screens for his Virgin Atlantic planes

The story goes that Richard Branson was trying to raise funds to install seat video screens on his transatlantic planes to gain an advantage over his fierce rivals British Airways. However, it was just after 9/11, fewer people were flying and money was tight. No-one would finance his plans.

He was just about to give up when he had an idea and phoned Boeing. They were having hard times as no-one was ordering their planes. He ended up being financed by Boeing to buy a new fleet of planes with seat video screens installed for free. When public confidence in flying returned he had the latest airplanes and gained market share from BA.

Number 2 – Michelle Mone and the perfect PR gimmick for Ultimo bras

I attended an excellent talk by Michelle Mone and she recounted this story with great gusto. Michelle had managed (by sheer effort and an excellent product) to get Selfridges to stock her new Ultimo bra, but she had very little money to promote the launch. She hired some actors to dress up as plastic surgeons and demonstrate against the new bras; complaining that they were so effective they would be out of a job. The stunt gained coverage across the world giving millions of pounds worth of coverage for a few hundred pounds of investment.

Number 1 – Real estate company in America

Sorry the details are so vague but it is such a perfect story I’m going to include it anyway.

A real estate company in the US had built a large housing estate near a popular and expensive city. In fact it was on a curved bay opposite the city so while it was close to the city it was still a considerable commute away. The company set aside a huge fund for advertising and PR but the marketers didn’t spend any of it in these areas. Instead they used it to build a bridge from the new development to the city. This was very popular with the locals, it got them endless coverage in the local media and, even better, it increased the house prices and thus profit margin.

What are your favourite stories, stunts or deals? I’d love to hear them.

I’ve got a few tricks up my sleeve for my novel launch but for now if you 'like' the Working from home Facebook page you get entered for a draw to win a Kindle!

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