Chocolate-orange-liqueurs-249x300I arrived in work the other morning to find a box of chocolates on my desk. Posh orange liqueurs, they were, presumably from an admirer. My immediate response was, naturally, overwhelming relief that I still had it, whatever ‘it’ may be.

With any anonymous romantic gesture, the mind immediately races to figure out who may have been responsible. I began smoothing my eyebrows and checking my breath. You never know: Jennifer Lawrence might finally have tracked me down.

Actually, my initial chief suspect was Doris the cleaner, who I’ve noticed giving me the eye on a couple of occasions. Then again, she’s heavily cross eyed, so it can be hard to tell exactly where she’s looking.

Sadly, my hopes were dashed when our MD, Andy, appeared and said ‘help yourself to those, mate – we were given them for Christmas but we don’t like liqueurs.’

Nice gesture, you might think. Generous, you might say.


My now-dashed romantic aspirations had immediately turned to suspicion. Something didn’t add up. My eyes narrowed to slits; I put on my best ‘calculating’ face. (It looks much like someone who’s struggling to read some small print, or like a gorilla counting loose change.)

Andy was up to something. I could tell. You see, just days before this, we had both agreed to take part in a 10k race in Gateshead, in July. We’re both competitive guys and though it’s gone unsaid, there have been a few tentative enquiries regarding how much training the other is managing.

Then within days my favourite chocolates just happened to land on my desk? Pleeease. I’m calling sabotage. Taken straight from cycling guru Dave Brailsford’s theory of marginal gains, but in reverse: ply Steve with chocs – that’s got to be worth a few extra seconds on his time…

I’m really not complaining, of course. A little bit of inter-office competition is a wonderful thing: it’ll make me raise my game.

But competition goes much further than that: it is a huge driver for businesses that use marketing agencies, and absolutely drives most marketing campaigns.

The reality is that failing to market a company properly will see it left behind by rivals.

Sadly, businesses can’t just leave a box of chocolates, metaphorical or otherwise, on their rivals’ desk and hope they’ll gorge themselves. The only real alternative is to improve what you’re doing yourself.

One of my favourite advertising slogans of all time was for Nike Trainers. “You either ran today, or you didn’t” it said. Hard to argue with that, really.

Now apply it to your marketing or PR? What have you done today to develop or progress your campaign?

Because, if you’re not making any progress, developing content, reaching out to clients and potential clients, communicating messages, then you can be sure your rivals will be. And they’ll be leaving you behind.

We frequently hear of companies that do their own content, ‘when they have the time’. But that’s never enough – because rivals will employ agencies and experts to generate content and boost rankings.

And when their brand is at the front of people’s minds, and on the front page of a google search, it will be because they’ve worked hard for that or employed a creative, proficient agency to do it for them.

If you’re worried you could be slipping behind, drop us a line and we’ll give you an honest appraisal of what our integrated SEO and PR campaigns could do for your business. We’ll even throw in a chocolate liqueur or two.