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The genius of AND

You can't beat an inspiring webinar. The only thing better, in fact, is an inspiring webinar packed with smart humour and perfectly timed swearing. 

That’s why this blog post is inspired by Mark Ritson. 

In a recent talk, Mark coined the term 'bothism'. 

Bothism. “Both” + “ism”. The art of saying yes to both instead of picking between an either/or. 

Mark wants to make 2021 the year of “Marketing Bothism”, and it’s a cause I am 100% in favour of.

What I love about bothism is that it's so broadly applicable. It won’t always be possible, but it’s always worth stopping for a moment to check if it could be.

Mark referenced many examples of where bothism could (and should) be applied. Places where we’ve traditionally chosen between one or the other. Dichotomies like sales activity vs brand activity, quantitative research vs qualitative research, strategy vs creative and digital comms vs traditional comms. For proof of why diversity and integration beat specialty and isolation, Mark talks about Effie winning case studies and brands that have done just this.  

There's probably an endless list of “either/or”s that we could be liberating with a big, fat “AND”. I want to share three I've been thinking about in particular:  

  • Science AND creativity
  • Customer experience AND brand
  • Purpose AND profit

Science AND creativity

As a Strategist, I've always found it hard to explain what I do exactly. If you’re a Strategist too, you’ll probably have experienced that familiar puzzled look from friends and family when you tell them what you do for a living. 

This bothism is the perfect tool to explain what Strategy is. It's the alchemy of understanding the evidence, the numbers and the hard facts, then pairing them with slightly more unpredictable human behaviour. It requires you to produce a conclusion that's rooted in insight but that also inspires art. The perfect combination of science and creativity. 

Customer experience AND brand 

You need to know who you are as a brand. Things like your purpose, values and behaviours can help you define yourselves. You also need to understand your customers. 

But only when you connect the two will you achieve true, long-lasting success. Powerful brands inject themselves into the customer’s world – consume the consumers instead of the other way around. It’s the perfect integration of customer experience and brand.

Purpose AND profit 

Everyone's talking about the power of purpose – myself included. Too often, though, it's seen as a trade-off for profit. 

 “Oh, we really should care more about people and our social purpose, but ultimately it's keeping the shareholders happy that matters most.” I’ve heard comments like this far too often.

What organisations need to understand is that purpose and profit can co-exist. More than co-exist – they can live in symbiosis, each one driving the other to better results. If you have a clear and compelling purpose, not only will it drive engagement with both employees and customers, which in turn drives efficiencies, innovation and sales, but it brings about a clarity and strategic focus that enables purposeful progress and growth. It’s all connected.

The list could go on. There are so many scenarios where adding a simple “and” has the power to completely transform the outcome. 

So, next time you're faced with what looks like a strict A or B choice, pause a moment. Ask yourself: does this have to be an either/or? Couldn’t I make this a both? 

Did you enjoy this post? We reckon you'll like this one too, where we take you behind the scenes of how we created a supportive, inclusive working culture at L&C mortgages.


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