May your 2021 comms campaigns be blooming marvellous

May your 2021 comms campaigns be blooming marvellous

Claire Walker

Claire Walker

We’re all living restricted lives. Some people have made it harder for themselves with extra self-imposed restrictions like ‘dry’ January or dieting. For all these reasons and more, January is a tough month with cold days and long, dark nights. Thankfully, it’s interspersed with a few sunny spells. There is nothing more uplifting for the soul than being wrapped up warm and enjoying a brisk walk in the winter sunshine and seeing nature at work. In my garden, the first shoots of hope are coming up already in the form of daffodils!

Nature can restore our faith. We know that especially after the earth is scorched, nutrients return, green shoots appear, and nature regenerates. Despite the uncertain times we are in, all will be well, and with a bit of planning, preparation and patience, our future could be blooming wonderful.

My daffodils are one of the first signs of Spring and they have inspired me. What lessons can we learn from nature and how can we translate that to our work challenges?


  • I planned five months ahead, so I planted my daffs in November, knowing I’d be able to enjoy them in February and March. Admittedly, the conditions in my garden are somewhat more predictable than in the technology sector, but ask yourself this: what do you want to spring up in May 2021? What ideas are you planning and planting now that will take five months (or more) to develop? Work back from there – those are the ideas that you should be starting on now.


  • Know where to plant and how to plant. Common mistakes are to plant in too much shade, with poor drainage and to forget to feed plants. For longer lasting bulbs, plant at a depth of 3x the depth of the bulb, bulb roots down, bud up. Planting in shallow soil makes them vulnerable to frosts, or weak growth. In the non-horticultural world, understand where your products and services can make the most difference, and where you can make the greatest margin: if you can find the intersection of these two points, dig deep and focus your marcomms efforts here!


  • A bit of water goes a long way, and it’s always best to water during the day. Water little and often to allow excess to drain away or your bulbs will rot. You can add a bit of plant food or fertiliser to give some extra va-va-voom to your bloom. Add plant food with water so you don’t scorch the bulbs. Like bulbs, your brain also needs plant food – (although not literally, please!). Remember that creativity is an ongoing process, and that good ideas often need time to take root, to be refined and improved. Constant improvement should be your goal – this means remembering to re-evaluate ideas, questioning what you’re doing, and when to just let nature (or your campaign) get on with things!


  • It’s hard to hold nature back. If you need to slow the growth, sprinkle some bark, mulch or straw around the shoots; it buys you some time! Or if you need to speed nature up, you need more warmth, sunshine and water. In the same way, be aware of the environment that you’re operating in – there’s a fine balance between getting things right and being too early or late. Watch the market and be aware that if you’re an early entrant, you may have a period ahead of you where prospects don’t ‘get’ your proposition. Conversely, if you’re late to the market, you’ll hear “Oh, you’re like Uber for X market”, a lot!


  • My bulbs are coming up way too early and we will have frost this week and snow is forecast. But nature is so clever. The leaves will just die back down, restore energy and pop back up later. And although I may see green leaves, the flowers take another five weeks to appear. As all experienced marketers know, there are always setbacks to any campaign. The important thing is to learn from them and set the right culture so that teams don’t get too discouraged. Instead, the best kind of teams will dust themselves off, learn from their mistakes and move on.


  • If you want flowers next year, let the whole plant die down naturally. Don’t mow over the top and don’t fold the leaves and tie them down. Let all the goodness from the leaves flow back into the bulb. When the flowers are gone, the leaves hold the nutrients for next years’ bulbs, and this takes 5-6 weeks. In marcomms, it’s always tempting to run a campaign and then move onto the next exciting activity, but it’s also important to think about how you could potentially extend or revisit the campaign to have even more impact for only a little bit more effort. Similarly, if this is a recurring campaign, consider what you’d do differently next time to really turbo-charge it.

Whether you’ve got the greenest of fingers or the tiniest window box, I hope this has triggered some thinking and reflection and you have something blooming wonderful to enjoy in May.

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