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The Importance of a Team Away Day

For those of us who run their own businesses, the Team Away Day is like a distant memory from those employment days.  Bonding with the team whilst climbing up trees, ascertaining your leadership qualities whilst playing games, the list goes on and on.  My worst memory (and I won’t mention the company) was Space Hopper rallies.  Now for those of us old enough to remember the Space Hopper, elaboration is not required – HOWEVER – for those who are younger, the Space Hopper is a big orange balloon shaped ball with ears, that you hold onto whilst using your feet to propel yourself forward.  Did this exercise help us bond? No.  Its only significance being that it was probably the worst event that I ever had to attend.

Currently and as creative director of Star Copywriting, I bring together a team dependent upon client and project so am therefore not working with the same people all the time.  Do we have Team Away Days? No – but I don’t think that makes me a bad project manager unless of course, I subjected them to that Space Hopper scenario.   However I do have regular Away Days from the office so I can gather my thoughts without disturbance.  Ironically the most important decisions I have ever made, have been on these days.  Normally at a spa, whilst relaxing, savouring that post-facial sensation, totally at peace, wrapped in a cosy dressing gown whilst feeling the creams being absorbed into my tired skin.  It’s at this point – I have the Eureka moment and business decisions are made.  The ideas don’t always come to you when you want them – rather they seem to appear, clear and strategic when you’re most relaxed and are not distracted with all the aspects necessary to run a business.

We all have different ways of finding the necessary time to focus (without distraction) on our businesses.  I would appreciate other ideas that could help other business owners.  If you would care to share – please email me direct – Thank you.

Posted on 6th July 2014.



For all business owners, it’s essential to maintain a presence at various networking groups. The opportunities to meet new business owners is crucial.  As a result of attending a Women Empowered event, Michelle Harris was approached by the top executives to submit a feature on the inspiration behind Star Copywriting…  WOMEN EMPOWERED FEATURE



As most of us network from behind a screen: LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+ etc. etc. who is the person behind the words?  Do we really know, who we’re doing business with?  It is so easy to be doing business without even leaving home, your office, shed, loft or wherever it is, that you use your computer.  So does this mean, we’re losing that ‘personal touch’, or the personality which drives the business deal? Well it’s easy (and tempting) to become a professional hermit, especially when the London Underground is suffering from severe delays and travel is virtually impossible. But NO, business networking has to be a variety of situations and using as many tools as possible.  Blogging may help your Google rankings and to keep your website fresh but actually meeting people, probably clinches more deals than relationships built purely on cyber-introductions and email relationships!  Blogging and websites can help steer traffic to your office and those calls which convert the business enquiry into a deal, or which will facilitate your ability to convert ”want to need’ dependent upon service offered.  It may be old-fashioned but still relevant in the 21st century… We like to look people in the eye! So the eyes do still have it, together with that personal handshake and reliance upon the gut instinct which helps us make a relevant decision.

11th April 2013




An interesting link:

The opening sentence is a startling statement: ‘Women control a whopping 80{e6d44aeaebb41051ff0ed44120cfe4b7422a2abbb4548dd7f96175734a56e321} of consumer spending, yet only 3{e6d44aeaebb41051ff0ed44120cfe4b7422a2abbb4548dd7f96175734a56e321} of creative directors are female.’

To those of us in the marketing and advertising industry, this is not surprising. Sadly as stated in the feature, it is an environment which is still a bit of an ‘old boys network’. I recall a comment made to me from a very senior executive at a top London agency; for women to get on top – they had to get underneath first. So very passe in the 21st century but regrettably, misogyny does still rule, despite the protestations.  However I do think that eventually, this will change as the old guard fall off their Jurassic perch.

So where does this leave women? For women in their 20s – 40s, juggling home and work is difficult but it is (very slowly) getting better.  Has a man ever been asked during an interview, his childcare arrangements during the summer holidays or if a child is sick? But as more women are becoming breadwinners, or  the sole provider for their families, women will at some point, be perceived equal to men. As far as this profession is concerned, women offer another thought process and evaluation of information which can be more creative.

So back to the initial point – women creative directors? Well women are diversifying, it is universally agreed that women generally make most of the decisions regarding the home and children. ‘A whopping 80{e6d44aeaebb41051ff0ed44120cfe4b7422a2abbb4548dd7f96175734a56e321} of consumer spending’ therefore it only makes sense that women truly understand the emotional inspiration to shop. Converting ‘want to need’ is based upon the images and emotive language used;  getting into the mindset of the target audience and striking the right note. It makes absolute sense that it is probably easier and more natural for a woman, to understand another woman’s rationale or thought process. So yes, I agree that having a female creative director is an asset to any marketing/advertising campaign.

It just so happens – that Star Copywriting is led by a female too!…


March, 2013




Going into 2013

Another year over… And rather like yesterday’s newspaper with yesterday’s news – we all look forward and dispose of what’s historic.

Resolutions – renewed memberships for gyms, health spas, diets, etc. etc. How we’re all going to be so much better  this year… But our success or experiences (aka failures or disappointments) make us all better. Learning from the mistakes – being focused on what has worked and fine-tuning a positive process.

As we are warned about triple dip recession and the soar of bankruptices, to still have a business means that last year’s strategy and process, worked.

It is hard out there – no denying it. More competitors keen to undercut – sometimes and for some people – cost overrides calibre of product or service. But for those of us who aspire to always deliver a top quality project, once we get into the quagmire of lowering our standards (because of costs), we lose carefully managed and developed reputations. It’s just not worth it.

I have a colleague who has just increased his prices? Why? Because he’s that good. His attitude is that he will lose the people who do not appreciate the quality of his work and the patience it takes to deliver an outstanding result. He’s right.  I’m certainly not saying that you should raise your costs to the point of ridiculous – but be paid what you’re worth and always with a keen eye to ensure that definitely, your clients WILL benefit from your services or products.

Essentially and for business – your fees are an investment – and the clients’ returns – outweigh the costs.

Good Luck!


Posted – 2nd January 2013


 The Immortal Michael Jackson – And Cirque du Solace! (02 Centre in London)

We’ve read the hype, seen the commercial trailers on YouTube and then braced ourselves for a wonderful evening.

But so – so sad – when we’re disappointed… As one of Michael Jackson’s veteran fans – have moonwalked my way through the 1980s and 1990s. Highlights of a misspent youth, include Michael’s music: his hits, rhythms, lyrics and dance moves.  These great memories were an essential part of my nightclubbing and disco days, so it takes a great deal – not to enjoy absolutely anything, that celebrates My Mate Michael! But oh-boy, did the show at the 02 this evening, bitterly disappoint. And why?… Because it felt as if purely for commercial purposes, all his ex-dancers were gathered together, to dance as instructed and taught by the master – however in his absence. The added highlight of Cirque du Soleil but rather like mixing French cuisine with Italian on the same plate: they just don’t mix.

Primarily the show featured dancers, the odd acrobatic and trapeze act to remind everybody this was a joint effort… but it didn’t work.  Screen behind the dancers with a whole smorgasbord of activity (videos, clips, stage acts etc) to make-up for a crucial absence. Barely able to see the dancers (and even cheap seats were £50!), his songs belted out at full blast but it had a certain lacklustre that left you flat. Nobody danced, the dancers danced alone. The odd clapper, random whistle of encouragement, a few people tapped their feet, but it didn’t have the feel-good factor you would have expected.

Adding to this litany of woe, an annoying mime act: a man dressed in white who looked as if he should have been in Covent Garden or outside Sacre Coeur. His role? Who knows? I certainly didn’t…

How would I summarise the evening? Rather like Gladys Knight and The Pips but without Gladys Knight…. Sooty and Sweep without Matthew Corbett! Essentially, the backup team without the front man. Couldn’t anybody have stood in for our much-missed-Michael? The show doesn’t work without him. No matter how hard, some people try….