Thursday, 29 November 2012

Tallow Chandler and the Ritz


During the Ironbridge Livery weekend for all 108 Livery Masters and Mistresses (see earlier blog) both groups formed a club. The first to get off the ground were the Mistresses, who last week organised tea at the Ritz, apparently a delightful event according to reports. However this week it was back to the City for Brenda and a luncheon at the Tallow Chandlers Hall at the invitation of their Mistress Mary, Lady Snyder. The event was strictly Mistresses only and so Brenda alone represented the Marketors on this occasion.

The location was fascinating in that the Hall dates back to 1672 having been re built after the Great Fire of London. However, the Tallow Chandlers, having begun about 1300, have been on this site since 1476, receiving their Livery in 1462, just beating the Wax Chandlers who received theirs in 1484. The Company's current activities include supporting a wide range of charities, with a particular emphasis on education, while also maintaining strong links with the oil and edible fats industries. 

So to the Luncheon. A crowded hall full of Masters partners, I am sure, made for some interesting conversations which were help by the guests changing seats half way through an excellent meal in order to engage with other like minded people. Obviously I can only report on what I heard, but clearly it was an excellent event.

John Flynn
Master Marketor

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Comms & PR


I don't usually blog about a committee meeting but this one was different. It was the final Comms & PR Committee of the year and was held at Lucio's, a restaurant on the Fulham Road. Also it was the last one for its chair, David Williams, who is stepping down, or is it up, to become Consort to next years Master, his wife, Sally Muggeridge. David suggested that it would be something of a sabbatical but I brought him down to earth with tales of the tasks ahead and the fact that while he will be standing down from a number of committees it does not mean that their Chairs will not be calling on him for guidance. David's contribution to both Comms & PR and other areas of the Company has been enormous. We thank him and look forward to his return to the Court in 2014.

And so to the meeting. With the new Company strategy including four discrete Aims and related measurable objectives, there was a lot to talk about. It is proposed that Comms & PR, plus other functions, be positioned as support services rather that part of a particular Aim, so lots to do next year. Then there are the rolling projects such as the web site, the Marketor, and the Directory. In all it looks like a busy time next year for all, and in particular Leo Addis the current Secretary, proposed Chair and host for the evening.

And so to the reception and dinner. But first the Master Elect, Sally, arrived hot foot from the Church of England Synod, on which she sits, where the eagerly anticipated vote for women Bishops had just been lost. She was able to drown her sorrows in the delightful atmosphere of fellowship which permeated the gathering of Marketors.

While on the subject of food, the Mistress, Clerk and I are off tomorrow to do a tasting, which involves being presented with two complete dinners and selecting which dishes and wines to put before the guests, this time at the Court Dinner. Its a tough life but someone has to do it.

John Flynn
Master Marketor

Friday, 16 November 2012

Social Media Thinking


Yet another successful Marketors Think Tank Seminar, this time at the CASS Business School. Entitled "Using insights from social media to drive ROI" it addressed why traditional market research fails to capture how consumers are interacting with brands. Starting with an exercise using Twitter information the speaker, Mark Westaby, director of Spectruminsight one of Europe's leading social media specialists, set us the task of defining who drinks what in a mix of faces and brands. The whole audience were wrong, which clearly proved the strength of social media in measuring and evaluating communications. The further examples offered by Mark were increasingly illuminating covering as they did a number of sectors. Social media research can clearly get to places in the customers mind that cannot be reached by previous approaches.

The following Q&A session added to the depth and breadth of the topic. My own question related to the research findings of the recent Presidential Election. Statistics were released regarding the voting patterns by culture, ethnicity, geography, etc but the one that stood out for me was that the majority voting for Obama, who majored on social media, were the unmarried voters, the singles, the people who are more likely to spend time on social media. So my questions were, what percentage of the population uses Twitter regularly, and what are the gaps in a community profile when just measuring via social media. Mark acknowledged that there were sectors of the community whose opinions could not be reached, but stressed the strength of the insights available from those that could be evaluated on-line.

The reception after gave us the opportunity to continue the topic, with the Mistress pitching in on her subject of field research, an activity which, despite social media activities, continues to offer valuable insights for companies. In all an enlightening and entertaining evening.

John Flynn
Master Marketor

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Basketmakers and Skinners


Every year the Worshipful Company of Basketmakers invite one third of the City Livery Companies to a Masters & Clerks Dinner. This time the Marketors were included amongst the invitees. This was particularly appropriate as the Clerk of the Basketmakers, Roger de Pilkyngton, is retiring at the end of the year, and is a Past Master of the Marketors. Coincidently their new Clerk is to be Julie Fox who occasionally assists our Clerk at our own Great Events.

On this occasion the Basketmakers, formed in 1569 from weavers of baskets and chair seats, and number 52 amongst Livery Companies, to our number 90, chose to have their event in the Hall of the Skinners who were formed in 1327 and are either 6th or 7th depending on whether it is an even or odd year. This fine hall, on a site that the Company has owned since the 1400s, was first a medieval hall that was burnt down in the Great Fire of 1666 but is essentially still the second hall rebuilt in the 1680, having survived the wear and tear of centuries, and the bombing of two world wars, as indeed did the chandelier in the entrance which was a gift of Catherine the Great. The building is now a scheduled ancient monument, Grade I listed.

Our host for the evening was the new Prime Warden of the Basketmakers Alderman, Neil Redcliffe who I had met the evening before at the Horners. Interestingly his father is a Past Prime Warden and his mother and daughter are both Liverymen of the Basketmakers. The speaker for the guests was H C Jourdain, Prime Warden of the Dyers Company who had some fascinating and amusing insights into the history of the two companies. He was a truly entertaining speaker. And so, at the end of what was an excellent evening, I made my way home by strolling across London Bridge. Ah, the joys of living in central London.

John Flynn
Master Marketor

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

The Bellm Luncheon and Plastics


Another mixed day officially began with the Tony Bellm Luncheon in the Private Dining Room of the Guildhall. This delightful event was started ten years ago when Tony, our third Master in 1979, bequeathed to the Past Masters funds for an annual luncheon for themselves and their partners, together with their guests the Master and Mistress and the Clerk. In all twenty seven were present with nine apologies for reasons of either travelling or health. This is a particularly pleasant gathering in which there is an unwritten rule that we do not talk business, one to which we adhered - mostly. Amongst those attending I was pleased to see Past Master David Collischon in yet another of his final appearances - long may they continue.

It was then a healthy stroll from the Guildhall to the office at London Wall to sign a few papers and collect 400 Christmas cards for the Mistress and I to sign this weekend. But first to other duties and into black tie for the 15th Horners Ralph Anderson Lecture at the Royal Society of Medicine in Wimpole Street. The Worshipful Company Horners, founded in 1638 were originally workers in horn but today the Company has strong association with those working in modern plastics materials. Hence the lecture on  "The Application of Polymers in Medicine and Dentistry" given by Professor Robert G Hill. Sub titled “Polymer Prescriptions”, it was, surprisingly, a fascinating presentation covering as it did how polymer materials are used to replace hip joints, treat osteoporosis of the spine and to restore and repair damaged teeth. The following reception was great fun in that we two felt like seniors in a freshers fair being one of the longest serving Master and Mistress in the room and therefore the font of all knowledge as to what happens next. Interestingly I met with the new Master of the Basketmakers with whom I will be dining tomorrow. 

John Flynn
Master Marketor  


Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Monmouth and the City


The Worshipful Company of Haberdashers have for many years held the Monmouth Enterprise Initiative in which sixth formers from their eight schools compete for the opportunity to network with professionals from the City of London. Each year the Haberdashers choose a different modern livery company to represent a business activity in the City; this time it was the Marketors.

And so the seventy selected students gathered at the modern Haberdashers Hall on the west side of Smithfield for a dinner with twelve Marketors, sixteen representatives from the companies which would be hosting them the following day, and of course our hosts the Haberdashers. To call then students possibly conjures up the wrong image - they were very articulate and smartly dressed young men and women. Also, lest there is an image of educational privaledge, only two of the schools are fee paying.

The evening started with brief presentations from Liverymen Philip Andrew and Annmarie Hanlon on there fascinating careers to date, illustrating that there is not just one route to success and also the strength of marketing skills in driving your career. There was then an interesting Q&A followed by me. I had been given the topic of the history of marketing and whether it was an art or a science, and so in summary I naturally touched on the 1950's in the US Mid West, 1622 in Rome, Freud's double nephew, and hyper connection (you had to be there). Oh yes, and it is first a science and then an art. And all in five minutes. We then moved on to an excellent dinner - in all a delightful evening.

An event such as this takes a lot of organising. Having taken the original brief at the beginning of the year, I was then out of the loop and so passed it to the Deputy Master Sally with a suggestion for two people to organise it, Debra Marmor and Annmarie Hanlon. Not only getting companies to volunteer but also ensuring that they are organised to take the student for a day, each visit being different to the other, is no mean task and so congratulations and thanks to both Debra and Annmarie for their hard work. Not only a success but one that will impact the lives of seventy young people.

John Flynn
Master Marketor


Monday, 12 November 2012

A Memorable Day

Remembrance Day started for us at St Brides Church in Fleet Street with a Choral Eucharist at 10:50am and the Act of Remembrance at 11:00. I, along with others, laid a wreath of poppy's, ours having our coat of arms as the centre piece. This was followed by the Requiem Mass accompanied by the magnificent choir, the organ and orchestra of St Brides. I was delighted to see Marketors amongst the congregation. A truely moving occasion summed up in the simple phrase "We will remember them".

Refreshments were available after the service but we had to dash to the Crypt of St Paul's where we had been invited to lunch with our good friends the members of the Worshipful Company of Stationers. This is a Company with which we have had a long association, their Hall being our first home in the City and where we still hold our treasures. An delicious meal was had by all in pleasant and historic surrounding with congenial company. For us we shares a table with Marketor, and Chair of Events John Wheen, and his wife Barbara. As might be expected when in good company we did not notice the time going hence the next rush.

And so another dash, this time a little further to Lauderdale House on Highgate Hill. Situated in Waterlow Park and dating back to 1582, it was originally built for Sir Richard Martin – the then Master of the Mint and three times Lord Mayor of London. Occupants since then have included the mistress of Charles II, Nell Gwynn, who lived there for a short time with their infant son, the Duke of St. Albans.  We were not there on Marketors business but I thought I would mention it anyway just to round off the day. We were there for the Sunday afternoon  Cabaret which today starred Norman Bowman the Mack in our production of the much acclaimed "Mack & Mabel" which was attended by the Marketors recently. To our surprise and delight one of his guest singers was Laura Pitt-Pulford, or Mabel as some of you know her. A wonderful ending to a hectic and diverse day.

John Flynn
Master Marketor

Sunday, 11 November 2012

The Lord Mayors Show


Our office in Paisterers Hall was the opening scene. I was there early, complete with bacon sandwich and coffee, allowing in and greeting those Marketors who were about to experience the delight of being a part of the 2012 Lord Mayors Show. There was a slight drizzle but as we walk out in full regalia to join our float that stopped. The Show has occurred for more than 800 years with only two missing years, the Great Fire and Wellingtons funeral. Its original purpose was to show the new Lord Mayor, the corporation and the trades to the City. It is the longest, largest and, of course, oldest parade in the world, and I first appeared in it on a Stock Exchange float precisely 50 years ago to this day.

And so to the float, so named because, way back when, Shows took place on the Thames. Ours was magnificent. It was one of the longest vehicles, and with the addition of the marching Cadet Corp was one of the longest presentations over all. The Marketors Coat of Arms and my theme of "Marketing: the Business Driver" were in full display as was reference to our partners the Chartered Institute of Marketing and St Dunstan's School. While I had seen pictures of the proposed float, viewing it for real was a very emotional moment as was seeing the Cadet Corp band, and Army and Navy contingent marching in front of us for the first time.

The parade travelled, in our case, from London Wall, then past the Guildhall and the Mansion House, around by St Paul's and up Fleet Street, past the Courts of Justice to the Aldwich where we stopped for lunch. For everyone, all 6,000 of us, this comprised of a small bag containing a sandwich, a bag of crisps a biscuit and a drink. The benefit of being a Liveryman was that the Master Mariner had invited us onto HMS Wellington to eat our packed lunch, washed down with a little of their bubbly. And so back, but via a slightly different route taking in Blackfriers. 

Well that described it - but how did it feel? Pride was the overriding emotion, of course coupled with excitement, and delight. The crowds were, in places, six deep and seemingly all eager to wave and cheer and to be waved and cheered back at. To smile and wave for almost three hours may seem like a strain but when a sea of faces are doing the same then you don't feel a thing - until you stop. The real delight is seeing the faces in the crowd. There are some you know, be they family, friends, livery or dignitaries you have met, and all are joining in the excitement. But it is the tens of thousands of strangers who are equally eager to be a part of the celebration. The great thing is that you can connect with individuals as you travel, despite the distance from them and the fact that you appear to be in a moving balcony. 

The children of St Dunstan's must have a mention. They were excellent and their teachers and parents must have been very proud. I have already described the Cadet Corp and their precision performance, so this time I turn to the children who were our "out riders", or walkers to be precise. Once they overcame their surprise at the reaction of the crowds they first responded by waving back and then started to "high five" the children that lined the route - brilliant. Unfortunately our second partner on the float could not attend as they had mistakenly organised their students Graduation for the same day, but the CIM's name certainly made an impression on the crowds.

I must not forget the Marketors and their families and friends who gathered at The Wine Tun which  overlooked the route opposite St Paul's. While a great view from their first floor vantage point, many poured onto the street to wave to us from the barrier, and what a wonderful sight they all were. I understand that they then returned to a three course lunch and some refreshment. Indeed they were still refreshing when those of us in the Show finally reached the restaurant in mid afternoon.  

So, an extremely proud day for me and for the Company. We, the Marketors, have taken our place in another of the City's great event. As always this would not have happened without the team of people and sponsors who put so much time and effort into producing the Marketors entry. Thank you all. I am sure you will agree with me in my mentioning one person in particular, Junior Warden Michael Harrison, who again brought it all together - thank you Michael.

John Flynn
Master Marketor

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Shakespeare and Ethics


A private viewing at the British Museum is always an attractive proposition, even when it starts early in the morning, and as this was an invitation from the Mistress and the City Livery Club, how could I resist. This particular viewing was to see (and hear) a major exhibition on the world of Shakespeare. It provided a unique insight into the role of London as an emerging world City seen through the perspective of Shakespeare's plays.  We were greeted by the curator who, in addition to introducing the exhibition, gave some interesting background into the theatre of the time. For example it is recorded that a playwright received £6 for a play while one of the costumes cost £6.10s But then the costume, together with the others in the production, would have been the genuine article. With the Royal Shakespeare Company providing appropriate pieces from the masters works this was truly an enlightening and uplifting experience which I can certainly recommend. And so back to the office and then onto St Brides with the Mistress.

The "Ethics in Marketing" debate was the first in what will hopefully be an annual event at St Brides Church. The Question Time style approach was chaired by journalist and broadcaster Ray Snoddy OBE while the panel comprised of Sir Paul Judge - Alderman, Anthony Thomson - Founder of Metro Bank, Andrew Marsden - Consultant, chair of ASA standards group and Marketor Businessman and Marketor, Ruth Mortimer - Editor of Marketing Week, and Philip Herbert - partner of law firm Hamlins LLP. With such a strong panel and a demanding set of questions this event exceeded all expectations offering revelations and incites not usually revealed. While I was proud to have initiated this event, which parallels the activities of my other initiative the Marketing Law Group chaired by Ardi Kolah, all credit must go to Sue Ash, chair of our St Brides Committee, without whose hard work and organisation skills this would not have happened. So here is to the next event which, I understand, is already being scheduled for June of next year. 

John Flynn
Master Marketor

A Day of Money


What a mixed day. First to a meeting of the Finance Committee to put the finishing touches to next years budget, then a meeting with our investors to make sure our funds are being correctly managed. Next to the Marketors Trust to review their investment results, followed by a meeting of the Trust. The Trusts good news was that our recent mailing to members was successful. However, having achieve this it was time to say goodbye to the Chair of the Trust, Trevor Brignall, but what a note to go out on. It was also goodbye from me in that these were the last of these meeting I will be attending. Incidentally, lest you think I was dashing all over the place, all of these meetings were held in the Court Room at Plaisterer. However there was then a quick dash to the Mansion House.

The Lord Mayors Appeal 2012 was entitled Fit for the Future and was targeted at promoting health opportunities for all and particularly those from some of the UK's most deprived areas such as Tower Hamlets. The funds raised helped five charities the primary being Bart and the London Charity on behalf of the Trauma Unit at the Royal London Hospital. In all about £2,500,000 has been raised to date. It was a delight to represent the Marketors and be amongst those that also contributed to this great achievement.

John Flynn
Master Marketor

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

A Day to Remember


The Garden of Remembrance at St Paul's, on the north side of the Cathedral, was the site of the Royal British Legion City of London Poppy Day Appeal service. But first, as this was early morning, to breakfast in the Crypt with more than 100 other Masters, plus clerics, members of the services and particularly the band of the Irish Guards. We were greeted by the President of the Royal British Legion Lieutenant General Sir John Kiszely KCB MC, formed up and made our way to what was a most moving ceremony in the Garden. Fortunately it was a sunny, if very cold, day. The service was conducted by the Dean of St Paul's the Very Reverend David Ison and the guests led by the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress David and Elizabeth Wootton who represented the citizens of London.

The service in the garden was short but moving with the band of the Irish Guards and the Royal British Legion Flag Bearers adding to the occasion. We all took our turn to plant our cross on the Remembrance Garden lawn and the service finished with the Kohima Prayer: "When you go home, tell them of us and say,
For your tomorrow we gave our today''. It was a ceremony that allowed all to reflect and show their gratitude for the sacrifices made by others on our behalf.

And so to the office, which is just a short walk from St Paul's, to meet with the Wardens and lunch  (sandwiches) with the Chartered Institute of Marketing in the form of their CEO Anne Godfrey. An excellent meeting which gave us the opportunity to exchange views on the state of the marketing profession. This was followed by the monthly Master & Wardens meeting which ended at about 7:00pm. As always, having been out all day I had amasses a pile of emails, ten to the Master and thirty eight to the other me. I think I'll leave them until the morning.

John Flynn
Master Marketor 

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Support and Care


As a Marketor, this week you will have received a copy of the Marketors' Trust brochure for October 2012. This highlights the fact that the Trust has, since its creation in 1976, grown in value to £560,000 and over the past ten years distributed more than £350,000. This has helped over 200 charities, educational bursaries and sponsorships while each year the Trust makes over 30 grants and awards. The purpose of the mailing was to make you aware of the variety of good works with which it is involved and, of course, to encourage you to give more. The primary goal was financial contributions, although the Outreach Programme is always looking for additional support for their projects.

The one topic that was missing from the brochure was that of the Companys' culture of care, an activity of the Company rather than the Trust. This is an aspect of the Marketors which goes un noticed unless you have a particular need. While managed by the Almoner, who is now Past Master John Fisher, it involves the Master, the Clerk, the Wardens, Past Masters and members of the Court as appropriate, either visiting or keeping in contact with, those in need and their relatives. Where we are advised, funerals are attended and assistance offered to the family. As for the Chaplain he attends where appropriate, indeed in March I had the pleasure of an uplifting visit from Cannon David Meera while I was in hospital.         

Maybe not cradle to grave, but the Marketors are concious of its members progress and well being. So where you can do please support our charitable activities. 

John Flynn
Master Marketor