The best of Mark Ritson: Part 1

To celebrate star columnist Mark Ritson being crowned the PPA’s business columnist of the year, the third time he has won the coveted award at Marketing Week, we have hand-picked what we think are the best of Ritson.

In the first part of the countdown he takes social media, Barclays, brand purpose efforts and employer branding to task as well as successfully predicting the ultimate demise of the Nokia brand.

Ritson award winner

10. Why Employer branding can do real harm

The column caused a huge stir among the HR community back in 2013 and prompted a spirited defence, but Ritson was characteristically vehement that the reality of employer branding had not lived up to its initial promise and was, in fact, totally pointless. Read the column.

9. Insights from a digital neanderthal

Ritson declared himself to be “sick, sick, sick” of the constant talk about social media as the silver bullet solution. Here’s the case for the less shiny but more powerful “traditional” media tools. Read the column.

8. Why Nokia is doomed to fail

The combined failures of both Nokia and Microsoft have proved rich pickings for Ritson columns, never more fruitfully than here where he laid into the joint launch of the Lumia smartphones in 2012. Ritson compares the launch to “your Dad and Uncle Terry” getting drunk at Christmas and then goes on to predict the demise of Nokia as a brand. Something that was met with incredulity by readers at the time but did eventually prove correct. Read the column.

7. Brand purpose and inane visions

One of the recurring traits of a good Ritson column is calling “bullshit” on a concept that most marketers currently accept unquestioningly. His dissection of brand purpose and the exaggerated, hyperbolic positioning work of brands like Coke, Starbucks and McDonalds caused a huge debate earlier this year. Read the column.

6. Barclays and branding DeJa Vu

In this 2013 missive our award-winning columnist tells the story of Barclays’ schizophrenic corporate branding efforts. In this highly entertaining and prescient column about the “once great bank and a great brand” he also successfully predicted the departure of the bank’s then marketing chief, David Wheldon, in 2015. Wheldon did indeed leave to join RBS in April.

Read the column.

Part 2 of the ‘Best of Mark Ritson’ can be found here.



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