Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way. I love Christmas, yet this year, I’m wishing it could someone be delayed as it’s going to smash all of the momentum I’ve been building since returning to the consultancy fold. Bah humbug? No, I’ll still embrace it with a hearty cheer! Anyway, to the job at hand. What has the last week looked like? Well, the biggest theme is ‘people’.

One has been networking

What does ‘networking’ even mean? Some people do it all the time, some not enough. The purpose? Well, for me it’s about meeting people that I can help and vice-versa. That doesn’t just mean doing business together though, in fact, I think many people make the mistake of thinking money always eventually passes between those we directly network with – certainly in my experience that’s not the case; what I’ve seen over the years is a wider effect of ensuring you’re front of mind when people ask each other ‘who do you know who can…’ or adding value in many different ways, as the past week is an example of.

Who have I been drinking coffee with in the past week? A fine mix of people…

The creative community

Tuesday was a rather busy day of scrambling all over Edinburgh, it started by attending ‘Creative Circles’, a gathering of a really diverse group of people working in some creative capacity within the city. The event is organised by Creative Edinburgh, a brilliant organisation I happen to be a non-exec director for and is always a superb opportunity to chat with people that I can learn from, share ideas with and discuss the ins and outs of running small businesses, a situation many of the attendees are in. On this occasion, I spoke to a photographer who’s just been signed by Instagram as an ambassador, a scarf designer, app maker and many more clever people! Speaking with people from such varying backgrounds really gets the ideas flowing!

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My home city of Edinburgh. Not bad eh?

The jobseeker

When someone gets in touch asking for a some of my time to discuss their next career move, I find it hard to say no. We all need help from time-to-time and while I can’t help everyone, I try my best! In this particular case, I was very keen to meet the lady in question as her experience is incredible. Over coffee in one of the city’s fine java establishments (served on rustic wood tables, of course), I gave my views on the agencies and companies in Edinburgh (the person has moved back here from London) that may be worth a chat with and had a superb discussion on the merits of content, data, reporting and much more. If you’re looking to hire a very smart marketer with blockbusting experience with brands such as Google, get in touch and I’ll give you her details.

The psychologist

From there, I went to drink more coffee while being psycho-analysed. The later isn’t true. I was meeting with Katie Banham, to discuss personas in marketing. Katie saw me speak on the subject at a recent event and had asked to meet to explore things a little further. This was one of those chats that covered everything from leadership to cold calling and beyond! It was really interesting to hear about Katie’s work, as you likely know, psychology plays a huge part in marketing and making a connection with a leader in the field can only be a wise move. Mutual experiences well and truly shared!

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In meetings, I like to liberally throw coffee beans on the table…

The early-stage startup

There are times you need to look to the future, and this was one of them. I’d met the owner of this tech startup after I’d come off stage at a conference and we got on like a house-on-fire. The chap’s launching a very clever app, with potential for numerous spin-offs and wanted to meet to talk about the key marketing areas to address 12 months from now for one of those off-shoots. This was one of the most challenging chats regarding marketing I’ve had in a good while – the app will enter a crowded, competitive marketplace with marketing noise (and spend!) to match. That’s an opportunity though – break the norm and get in through the back-door via very smart content that builds trust and goes against the way the big-guns do things. Giving away some time to chat with this chap was so valuable for both parties, in-fact, he gave me an idea for a further service I could offer that is very clever and has never before crossed my mind.

That’s real variety!

All but one of those meetings was directly related to potential business, yet each was valuable in its own way. It’s so important to meet with and share experiences with a variety of people. Just don’t do too much of it, there’s work to do…

Until next week! You can catch up on the rest of the diary here.

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