About Ben Dansie
Ben Dansie is currently CEO of Omobono, a fast growing digital communication services business in Cambridge, England. Using a proprietary model (Enterprise Relationship Management or ERM) for optimizing business relationships, Omobono consults to some of the world's largest consulting corporations. The company has won a Webby, an Ogilvy and was named Marketing Services Company of the Year in the 2010 Drum Awards.
After graduating from Exeter University with a degree in Politics and Economics, Ben departed for Hong Kong and joined the Royal Hong Kong Jockey Club as Communications Manager.
1996 saw Ben return to the UK and join Claydon Heeley (part of Omnicom) working for clients including Pepsi, Ford, Abbey National and PG Tips. In January 2001 Ben started Omobono with co-founders Francesca Brosan and Chris Butterworth
Ben has lived and worked in Asia and spent seven months working in Tokyo. He owns a sail boat and has crewed in the Round the Island Race a number of times.
Latest Posts by Ben Dansie
Creative Director Chris shared an experience with Twitter that shows the value of monitoring your brand, and the cautions of uncensored opinions, online. We originally posted this on our company blog, but it’s such a great example that I had to share it here as well. Enjoy!
I like Twitter. I like the random comments, opinions, links and rants.
I like that I feel I know interesting people who I’ve never met in the flesh nor probably ever will.
But it’s a dangerous place. It lulls you into a false sense of (social) security.
It presumes anonymity but in reality it’s fairly easy to identify someone in the ‘real’ world.
And because it’s full of people venting spleen about all kinds of topics, it encourages you to join in.
At least it did me.
I tweet on two occasions – when I’m bored and when I’m drunk.
Three if you count when I’m bored AND drunk.
So fuelled with Shiraz and following an hour and a half of X Factor, it was a perfect storm when the latest Cravendale milk ad came on in the ad break.
Now to be clear, I don’t much like the ads. They strike me as an idea applied to the product rather than one extracted from the product.
But they’re not the worst ads on TV by a long chalk and, in terms of my existence, don’t really make much difference.
However I took this particular airing as a chance to tweet (and I paraphrase) ‘Would love to meet the creative team behind the Cravendale ads. I would kick them in the knackers from now till Doomsday.’
And once the thought went out into the Twittersphere I thought no more about it.
However, the following morning there was a reply.
It was from Wieden & Kennedy, the agency behind the Cravendale advertising (actually from their MD Neil Christie) and arguably the most creative ad agency in the world today.
Neil helpfully told me whose knackers I should direct myself to and copied him in on my tweet (Chris Groom @groomster).
Now I’m 6’5” and 18 stone, so potential physical repercussions weren’t particularly the issue. I was incredibly ashamed to have been caught having a go at a fellow creative – particularly as I know how hard this game is without having colleagues turning on each other.
And as I’ve lectured on IPA events about how important creativity is and how to achieve great ideas we have to be prepared to fail with some but stick together.
So I immediately sent an apology.
Chris replied saying that he understood and that he didn’t take it personally.
But it still ate away at me – mainly for the fact I’d been an idiot and insulted someone I don’t even know, poor bloke.
So a couple of days later, as retribution for threatening his genitalia, I sent Chris a parcel with some plums, nuts and cheese balls. All potential substitutes in a Viz-style way.
He received it graciously.
This event has caused me to reconsider my relationship with Twitter. And to be considerably more circumspect before spouting my vitriol.
As I footnote, I confessed this to my wife who told me that she really liked the Cravendale ads.
So the David Ogilvy-ism was right ‘The consumer is not a moron, she is your wife.’
Except that my wife married me, so in this case the jury’s still out.
For the latest issue of their journal, Argent, The Financial Services Forum asked us to share our thoughts on the challenges surrounding the financial services struggle to regain customer trust. Project Manager Catherine comes from a strong background in the financial services so she jumped at the chance to talk to this shop.
She identified three key issues (and although one ran in the issue, the others have made for some LinkedIn discussions in the FS Forum group):
Customer service: Although the market has settled somewhat since the financial crisis, customers remain critical of the main financial providers. It isn’t just about how safe your money is – it’s all areas of customer service that have continued to put off previously loyal customers: excessive bank charges, foreign call centres, closing of local branches. Providers now have to fight to win back their customers – even those who never actually left, but who have lost trust in their brand.
The emergence in the market of foreign and private banks: Some are as a result of direct takeovers, such as Santander, but others are less well-known providers who, over the last two years, have entered the savings markets with top rates, enticing disgruntled customers of the UK banks. Whilst customers may have previously looked on a foreign bank as a risk, that risk perception became less so as UK banks started to struggle, and awareness of the deposit guarantee increased. In 2010, further providers will continue to enter the market, with good products and a promise to right the wrongs of established providers. This will add significantly to the pressure of UK marketing teams.
The Internet has changed everything we do: For many customers, and in particular Gen Y, the Internet is a highly effective and low-cost way of marketing financial products. In particular, the use of social media as a tool for good customer service is widely underused in this industry, but is an important growth area. Providers must not forget though, there are a significant amount of people for whom online security remains a worry when dealing with financial products – meaning traditional methods must also be incorporated. Banks should be looking at how they can educate their customers on the merits of online, as an added value service.
It’s a matter of working on the relationship with the customer to bring back the trust; build a relationship with the customer that gives them value which, ideally, they could only get from that relationship.
What do you think – how does a brand build trust?
A few weeks ago, Communicate Magazine asked us of any visual identities we thought missed a mark. Our Creative Director, Chris, stepped forward and shared his thoughts on the London 2012 logo:
“It isn’t clear what the identity represents. That’s a big trick missed when the purpose of creating a visual identity is to represent a brand by evoking emotions.”
What do you think – how much weight does a logo hold in brand perception?
We spent two weeks in Denmark in August 2009. One week in Copenhagen, the rightly named Paris of the North, and then a week visiting the Lake District around Silkeborg and the Odden peninsula.
Denmark might never be top of your list for next year’s holiday – but it really is a great place. It oozes quality, the people are delightful, the food is simple but fresh and you leave feeling there really are some lovely places left in the world.
We stayed right in the middle, near Christianshavn, the main tourist magnet. In the summer it’s astonishing how civilised Copenhagen is. Many of the locals decamp to their summerhouses so the capital feels quiet and relaxed. We had no problem getting around, everyone spoke perfect English (although they will encourage you to say “porridge with strawberry jam” as the locals find it unpronounceable), the trains and buses are spectacular and best of all we hired local ‘Christiana’ bikes – with huge wooden boxes on the front which the kids sat in to their great entertainment. Wherever you stay though everything is only is short distance away.
Copenhagen is based around a series of rivers and canals so it feels not unlike Amsterdam. It’s definitely worth taking a boat trip as these give you a real sense of the city. The new Opera House (a personal $300m gift from Mr Moeller to the Queen) is amazing. The boats skirt past the famous hippy community of Christiana (don’t bother investigating further).
If you’re there in summer the water is clean enough to swim in. There aren’t many capital cities where you can swim in the river – but in Copenhagen you can. There are a number of lovely beaches and a city centre swimming pontoon. We took full advantage and the water is amazingly clear (and warm).
There are some great museums. None of them are world beaters (apart from one) but the best thing is they are different and very creative. Our kids loved them. One, the Kunstal Charlottenborg was full of string, a car suspended from a hot-air balloon and a gallery where you could leave your own effort. The best museum by far is called Louisiana – a short train journey outside the city. It’s on a promontory a short train journey north. It’s a modern art gallery. The art is so so (there are some lovely Giacommetis), buried in galleries built into the hillside. The location is amazing set right by the sea. Just chill out in the café – and enjoy the view out to a small island with a town called Tuna on it. I was lucky enough to see one of Denmark’s national treasures – Helena Christiansen!
Tivoli Gardens – the world’s first amusement park is definitely worth it. It’s pretty, central and fun. Spend the whole day as like all things in Denmark, it’s expensive. Reckon on spending about $100 to get a family into any museum in Copenhagen.
Don’t even think about hiring a car in Copenhagen. It’s small and perfectly connected and parking costs a fortune.
Silkeborg – The Lake District
Denmark is basically three islands. Copenhagen is way over on the right – next to Sweden. The Lake District is way over on the left – on Jutland. The drive was fun – one bridge was over 16km long (ok I do come from a family with a history of bridge building).
The lake district sounds like a huge area but it’s a couple of towns – Silkeborg and Ry. We reckon it’s better to be outside Silkeborg at one of the (well-located) campsites or B&Bs. The one we stayed in in Ry was fabulous, down a track, by a lake with its own pontoon and kayak. We made the breakfast last all day. The food in Denmark is expensive although they do a delicious hamburger with everything on for about $3.50 and you can find them pretty much everywhere.
The popular thing to do in the Lake District is hire a kayak and float down a river or across a lake. But if you’re in car just get yourself lost on a by-road and you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
Down by the sea
Denmark is a series of islands so you are never far from the sea. There are bridges, ferries, beaches, boats everywhere. The beaches are clean and empty compared to pretty much anywhere else we’d every been.
We were in a tiny, basic summerhouse near a beach. We’d taken the ferry from Arhus in Jutland back to Odden in Zealand and our summerhouse was in a place called Lumsas. Because foreigners are restricted in the property market the Danes all seem to have a summerhouse as a second home. They are generally small and simple, located near the sea. Ours was a tiny wooden building with a couple of bedrooms and one big living room. There are no gardens or fences, the summerhouses are just dotted around in the woods. Our local beach was frequently empty – even on the days we had perfect weather. It’s worth noting that August is a great time to visit as children go back to school at the beginning of the month.
We spent the days swimming, reading and going crabbing (a tradition in the East of England where we come from). The local fishshop in Rorvig (delightful and well worth visiting) leaves out fish heads which you attach to a piece of string and then fish crabs out of the water on the local pier. Simple but hours of fun and free entertainment. And the food at that local fish shop is amazing.
We ended up thinking Denmark might just be the place to retire to but the locals assured us visiting is best. Tax is 65% – hence the great public services and the tax authorities make sure they see your bank statements every new year’s eve. And don’t even think about jay walking. They are a very law abiding bunch. It’s definitely worth a visit.