The Institute of Sales Promotion (ISP) is gearing up for a management reshuffle as it attempts to reposition itself following criticism over its lack of engagement with the industry (MW last week).
Clive Mishon, the former chairman of the Marketing Communications Consultants Association (MCCA), has been elected chairman of the organisation. The handover from incumbent Peter Kerr will be formalised at the ISP’s annual general meeting in December. Entirely separately, the body is in discussions with director-general Edward Mutton regarding his planned retirement, although the timing of his departure has yet to be confirmed.
Mishon admits the ISP has “lost ground” over the last decade, largely because the sales promotion industry has been seen to be lacking relevance. MCCA managing director Scott Knox, who has worked alongside Mishon in the past, criticises the ISP for failing to rise to the challenges of an increasingly competitive market. He blames its problems on a lack of energy and engagement from its existing board of directors. “It is being driven by a group of people with no real passion left for the industry,” he says. “We’ve heard so little from the ISP and that’s perhaps why promotional marketing has come under fire.”
Industry image problem Controversies such as Kit Kat’s Big Brother golden ticket promotion have done little to help the image of an industry which has long been seen as a high risk option that provides a short term sales boost at the expense of the brand in the longer term. Mishon says such issues reinforce the need for a strong ISP. “With the right collaboration these are not high risk enterprises,” he says. “It makes organisations like the ISP more important because more emphasis is placed on ensuring the code is being properly upheld.”
In his existing role as marketing director of the ISP, Mishon has already begun to initiate change by spearheading a campaign to promote the body as more inclusive to specialist sales agencies. The campaign, which includes the introduction of a new logo and mission statement, is designed to more closely align sales promotion with other channels of communication from traditional to digital media.
Dynamic leadership In order to remove the “grocery marketing” tag associated with sales promotion and position it as an “inclusive medium”, Mishon says the ISP needs to initiate dialogue with the industry. While Kerr brought stability to the ISP by addressing the financial and administrative problems during his four-year tenure, Mishon admits he “has not been a natural front man”.
Industry experts are confident that Mishon will succeed where his predecessors have struggled and turn the trade body around. He brings more than 25 years of trade body and commercial experience in the marketing services industry to the role, having headed promotional marketing consultancy Marketing Drive for almost a decade, before founding his own consultancy and investment company Mentor Marketing & Investment (MMI).
Marc Nohr, managing partner of integrated agency Kitcatt Nohr Alexander Shaw, which was backed by MMI and in which Mishon remains a minority shareholder, describes him as a “driven entrepreneur” with the ability to implement the necessary changes to reinvigorate an organisation: “He is an incredibly astute and commercially focused businessman with a proven track record in building successful business ventures.”
Knox describes the appointment as “long overdue”, arguing that the organisation needs a respected industry figure such as Mishon to act as a mouthpiece to “re-engender a sense of passion in the industry”. While the signs appear positive, only time will tell whether the fresh face will be enough to revive the ISP.