Saturday, 25 February 2012



Who better to organise a trip to Bloomberg for the Marketors than our own Peter Phillips who, a few years ago, actually appeared on Bloomberg TV having won an investment award. Bloomberg is a company that provide up to the second news for the financial sector. They supply traders with the global information and tools required to manage their portfolios. A very different world to the one in which most of us ply our trade, but we did not realise how different until we entered their offices in Finsbury Square.  First to the reception and then to the refreshment area which contained every form of snack and lunch time bite you could want - and all free. Then we discovered on each floor a vast aquarium containing fish which were largely colour coordinated to the colour scheme of the particular floor. A dream work environment which was completely open plan with most desks having the customary four screens.

But then down to the serious work. A team of Bloomberg staff took us through their offer, the marketing and the TV studios. The Bloomberg Terminal, which is the core of their services, offers an extremely complex array of information on global companies and markets. However, access to the minutia of information is simple (for those trained in using it) and new features and products are being added daily. You can even follow commodities in real time as they travel around the world and also track weather changes which might affect the final price. As for Marketing, addressing a highly segmented and global market, they are wedded to inter departmental marketing integration, several examples of which were given. And so to the studio where we saw a live broadcast. While small, this TV station has a global reach of over 300 million homes and employs all the latest technologies. A long way from ticker tape and cans of film experiences by the Mistress (Brenda) when she first started work in News.

Bloomberg started in the '80s and has recently been growing at 10-15% per annum. Perhaps a clue to their success is the slogan on their coffee mugs whch reads "process less>>  >> profit more". The one thing we did learn was that staff, who came from a diverse array of professions, were both enthusiastic and delightful hosts. Thanks to them all plus, of course, Michael Bloomberg who founded the company and is currently Mayor of New York.

And so we went on to a local hostelry to reflect on the lessons learnt while of course enjoying suitable refreshment and an amply helping of Fellowship. To our delight, and very appropriately, we were also able to celebrate the birthday of John Wheen our very capable Chair of the Events Committee.

John Flynn
Master Marketor 

Friday, 24 February 2012

The Court and Bremner


The first official duty today was to Chair my first Marketors Business Court. Before it started there were two presentations. One relating to the exceptional work of the Heritage Committee in digitising the archives, and the other on the conclusion of Phase One of the Forming the Future project. Both were informative and important to the company in their different ways. I wont go into the detail of the Court other than to state that there were 19 in attendance and, despite a heavy agenda, I did manage to end at 5:35, the target being 5:30.

And so a quick dash home to change, and on to the Grosvernor House Hotel for the CIM Marketing Excellence Awards. While on a VIP ticket, it was as a Trustee of the CAM Foundation, one of the sponsors, rather than as the Master that I was first recognised. With what seemed to be over 900 guests at the banquet this was a great event, and I was fortunate enough to be announcing one of the winners. This I learnt the day before when the CAM Chair dropper out, and so as immediate past chair, it fell to me. Which means that I can now say that I shared a stage with Rory Bremner - if only briefly. Oh yes, my category was Technology and the winners were McCann London on behalf of XBOX 360.

As always at such events the real pleasure was meeting old friend from the CIM and other parts of the industry and, of course, making new ones. A really great evening, thanks to our friends at the CIM.

John Flynn
Master Marketor      

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Ye Olde Pancake Race


It's Shrove Tuesday and so, in the City of London and particularly the yard of the Guildhall, it is time for ye olde Inter Livery Pancake Race. This tradition goes back a whole ... eight years when it was started by the Poulterers Company. However it is already shrouded in strange rules and regulations relating to dress codes and race procedures. Before the races there was a course inspection followed by a blessing from Canon Paul Thomas. The first race was started by Sir Michael Savory coincidentally with a cannon, and was the Master race. This was won last year by our very own, now Immediate Past Master, Jim Surguy. So, as I was unable to race, who better to replace me then he. And didn't he do well coming second in both the heats and the final. Indeed all our entrants were placed (did not come last). So congratulations to Annie Brooks in the Ladies Race; Lesley Wilson as a nurse in the Novelty Race, and Jeremy Stern in the Liverymen race. 

All runners were spurred on by our large team of supporters who, complete with banner, were the noisiest in what was a large crowd which included some totally confused tourists. Throughout the race, pancakes were available for all, while after it there was lunch in the Guildhall Crypt. This included soup in a commemorative cup, and a hot buffet which was most welcome on what was a bright, dry, but cold day. As usual the Cook and Butler put on a fine spread.

 So, in all a great event with an excellent opportunity to meet with fellow Marketors and also people from other Livery Companies. Finally I would like to point out that, contrary to popular belief at the races, I did not use the words tosser or eggscitement in this blog - damn!

John Flynn
Master Marketor

Friday, 17 February 2012

Is Occupy' Right?


Before reporting on a most excellent lecture this evening I must give an insight into the lesser known duties of a Master. These include agreeing the service which is to take place prior to the Spring lunch and ensuring that the St Brides choir has the variety of pieces to set off their amazing voices while also reflecting my very broad range of musical interests. Then there is the food at the Spring Lunch itself. This all has to be tasted and approved which is why Brenda and I had almost the equivalent of two lunches each this afternoon. The things we do for the Marketors.

And so to the evening and the World Traders' annual Tacitus Lecture at the Guildhall. With almost 850 people attending, this was by far and away the largest gathering of the week and I guess possibly even the year. The subject was "Is Occupy' Right?" and the lecture given by Terry Smith. A controversial figure in the City, and author of "Accounting for Growth: stripping the camouflage from company accounts" Terry's outspoken and forthright views were well received by this very mixed audience. This was reflected in the Q&A session which covered a broad range of topics. Rather than go into the detail I would refer you to  where you can see the video and read the transcript. Just to give you a taste, he believes that the banks should be split and the markets left free to fail - and justifies these and other opinions with common sense logic.

And thence to a buffet in the Library of the Guildhall where we met a surprisingly large number of friends many from different parts of our life. In all one of the better nights this week.

John Flynn
Master Marketor 

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Universities Role


And so to the Carpenters Hall for the Worshipful Company of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators Rivers Lecture which this year was entitled "The Role of Universities in the 21st Century" delivered by Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell President and Vice Chancellor of Manchester University, an establishment with which I have a lot of involvement at the moment.

But first to the reception where Brenda and I were warmly greeted by the Master Ian Richardson together with his Wardens, and then by Ros and Victor Chopin-John who acted as our hosts. This was particularly pleasant as they are old friends and Victor is the new Chief Usher at the Marketors.

As usual with such a presentation there were the facts. In this case that there were 165 universities in the UK with 2.5m students. Manchester alone has a turnover of £800m p.a. It was felt that they offered a rich transformative experience for the students and fostered cross discipline research opportunities. However it was recognised that there were changes occurring due to government legislation regarding foreign students and also fee levels.

This time I actually raised a question - in fact two. Firstly what will happen when the international student levels drop because of the development of education in their own countries; and secondly the increasing level of on line education enables students to pick and mix topics and study when and where it is convenient to them, while also being a part of a community - how will universities compete? I was advised that in both cases the British universities have this covered by creating an internationally attractive environment and increasingly employing technology.

And so to the delicious buffet supper where, amongst others, I met with the Secretaries Junior Warden Lis Bish, an accountant and also a marketer. We regaled each other with tales of working in aerospace all those years ago.

In all a really great evening with delightful company.

John Flynn
Master Marketor      

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Stationary Piracy


The Digital Media Group Roundtable event entitled "What is the Impact of Piracy on the Entertainment Industry and what is it doing about it?" may not be the catchiest title, but with leading speakers from the film, recording and publishing industries and the Managing Editor of MSN Entertainment in the Chair plus a legal expert in attendance, this Stationers event was a real eye opener.

The challenges facing these business sectors were clearly defined, as were the responses from both industry and the government. The Digital Economy Act, which has been drafted to address online copyright infringement, is still being challenged but should be fully deployed by 2013. It was noted that whilst the main piracy culprits are as young as 11 years with the concentration being 16-24 years, the vast majority pay for content with 75% of album sales still being in the form of CD's.

It was felt that the solution was to do as the French now do, which is to have a system whereby piracy is monitored and people are made aware that their activity has been noticed. This simple act has greatly reduced piracy and increased legitimate sales. To this end the UK record industry have started to send out 20,000 notices per day and are awaiting results.

While the Stationers Hall was as usual very welcoming, and the discussion most thought provoking, the fellowship after was the highlight. So our thanks to Ian Bennett of the Stationers who organised the event (and the excellent refreshments). It was a most interesting evening in convivial company which included, from the Marketors, the Mistress Brenda together with Liveryman David Williams, Freemen Andy Robinson and Jonathan Williams, plus their guests.  

John Flynn
Master Marketor

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Actuaries and Bankers


And so to my first double day. First lunch with the Actuaries and then dinner with the International Bankers. These separated by a preview of a possible venue, with a fantastic view of the City, for an event later in the year.

The Mistress was with me at the first event which was lunch at the Watermen's where we were the guests of John and Anita Lockyer who are Master and Mistress of the Worshipful Company of Actuaries. As happens we had met John and Aneta several time on the circuit. His experience in having previously been Master of the Plumbers has been of help to him this time round and of benefit to me in the advise he has given.

It was an informal affair at which the majority were Actuary Liverymen and their partners, what a really nice bunch. Interestingly the conversation turned at one point to health and I discovered that several had gone through what I am about to face and were able to give me assurances and good advice. In all a delicious lunch and a pleasant few hours in really good company.

And so to the Guildhall and the Worshipful of International Bankers. Over 500, mainly, bankers with an American Master, Joseph King. Interestingly the Bankers have both permanent members and transient ones - those who are working in the City for just 3 - 4 years. The Marketors were on the top table where I was seated between the Sheriff Wendy Mead and Past Master Michael Kirkwood, who is now with UKFI looking after the Governments, and our, banking interests.  Speakers included Alderman Lord Levene of Portsoken who responded on behalf of the Lord Mayor and offered an interesting perspective on the position of bankers and the City. However it was the Principal Guest Speaker, James Wolfensohn, former President of the World Bank, who made the most telling points.

Put simply he believes that the future is Asian or as we put it in a Think Tank seminar a few years ago "Chindia". In the recent past 1Bn people owned 80% of the global GDP, leaving the remaining 5Bn with 20%. Following the 2002 shake up this reverted to 65:35. It is his belief that by 2050 this will be 35% to 65% with Chindia owning 50% at which point there will be 9.2Bn people. His answer is to understand the changes and to help our next generation to not only cope with, but succeed against, the new competitive forces. The answer is to understand your opponent and education your resource. An answer with which all modern livery companies must come to grips.

Having had a stimulating evening we all exited via the Stirrup Cup which contained a chocolate fountain, and no I didn't.

Master Marketor


Monday, 6 February 2012

Ladies who Lunch


Today the Mistress, Brenda, had Luncheon at the Mansion House with Elizabeth Wootton, the Lady Mayoress. This was a small intimate occasion for just eighteen Mistresses and wives of Aldermen. Apparently there was much discussion about the differences between being a Mistress or an Alderman's wife and particularly comparison of the events to which they are invited. After a delightful lunch with interesting company the Lady Mayoress invite them all for a tour of The Mansion House. This included the private apartments, and even the bathrooms and wardrobes. The Mistress is definitely a convert to the  Ladies who Lunch.

John Flynn
Master Marketor

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Thinking of the Future


It will not be my usual practise to blog about committee activities, however there will be exceptions and the Think Tank's Business Breakfast today is one of them. The aim of the meeting was to gather ideas for future topics that the Think Tank might address. The range of possible subjects submitted prior to the event suggested a really dynamic meeting and we were not disappointed. The broad spectrum of experience and background amongst the participants meant that each topic was viewed from a multitude of perspectives.

Potentially the most difficult task of the day was that of Chair, but this was most ably handled by the TT Chair, Past Master Venetia Howe. She allowed the appropriate level of discussion but ensured that we came to a structured conclusion on time. As I recall two of the key topics were digital marketing, the privacy value trade off and the shift in public behaviour; and measurement and the sales marketing fusion in the City - but I could be wrong. As with such meeting only the scribe really capture the essence of the output.

So a very productive meeting, and excellent start to the year and definitely supporting my theme of Marketing:The Business Driver. And the breakfast was good too.

John Flynn
Master Marketor 

Stationers Court


And so to my first Master and Clerk dinner, except it was just Master as Adele was unwell. It was the Court Dinner of the Worshipful Company of Stationers and Newspaper Makers and was held at Stationers Hall, a venue we know well and the home of our Treasures.  On entering the courtyard the view of the illuminated smaller hall was most welcoming. Having been warmly greeted by Master Stationer Nigel Stapleton I was delighted to find my self hosted in the reception by our own Immediate Past Masters brother in law who is a Court Assistant with the Stationers. On being seated I then discovered that there were more familiar faces with Jonathon Soar, the Master of the IT Company, my other Livery Company, on my table and to my left Ian Bennett (Stationer)with whom I am organising the joint Livery with IT, an event entitled "The Olympics: the real thing or fools gold?" on the 18th June at Stationers. Look out for the flyer.

To my delight I found that on my right was Archdeacon Cannon David Meara who, in addition to ours, is also the Honorary Chaplain to the Stationers, so an excellent and appropriate grace. Beyond him was Nigel Bamping, Clerk to the Plaisterers, the new home of our office. As conversation progressed we discovered a common thread, it was, of all things, Pinner and Ruislip - we had each either lived or worked there in the past so there were several trips down memory lane.

At the end of the evening the Stirrup Cup allowed us the time to briefly catch up with those we had missed and I left Stationers looking forward to more of these most excellent evenings through out the year.

John Flynn
Master Marketor

Friday, 3 February 2012

Trading Fairly


Following on from my theme for the year of Marketing: the business driver, it follows that business must trade fairly if it is to survive and succeed. It must therefore conform to legislation and also follow ethical codes. Clearly our visit to the Office of Fair Trade (OFT) was going to show us how this should be approached and the consequences for those who do not, and they did not disappoint.

Housed in a modern building in
Salisbury Square
, close by St Brides Church, the mission of the OFT is to make markets work well for consumers. A simple goal but, as we were to learn, it was an extremely complex task. However, Judith Frame, Head of Marketing and Campaigns for the OFT, and her team clarified many of the issues they face.

The presentation covered the history of the OFT through to its present structure and responsibilities. Divided into three divisions covering Markets & Projects, Policy & Strategy and Corporate Services the OFT is arranged around markets, rather than legislation. This enables it to look more easily at whole markets and to use all the tools available to it effectively in uncovering the questionable approaches adopted by some businesses. The tools include consumer and competition enforcement, market studies and references, education and communication in whatever combination is appropriate

Indeed the second half of the morning addressed one specific sector, that of medical equipment, and how those companies involved in the provision of this equipment approach the broad spectrum of business activities.  

Having been suitably entertained, educated and, at times, concerned we, together with our hosts for the morning, transferred to Che Gerrard for lunch. Here Fellowship was in abundance as we had the opportunity to both renew, and create anew, acquaintances. It was a delightful lunch, in pleasant surrounding, with excellent company as always.

John Flynn
Master Marketor

The Installation


So, my first blog, and so fittingly about my first day as Master of the Worshipful Company of Marketors. The Installation was the highlight of my career. Surrounded by friends, family and well wishers in the glorious Plaisterers Hall, I was clothed by the outgoing Master Jim Surgey at the Ceremonial Court. I could not have been prouder. The Mistress (Brenda) and I then received a blessing from Arch Deacon David Meara before I installed Sally Muggeridge, Roddy Mullin and Michael Harrison as my Wardens. I then went on to install Leo Addis as a Court Assistant, and admit Philip Andrew and Steve Wilson to the Livery and Michael Lynch as a Freeman.

Next came the presentation of Marketors Awards. First was a Bursary of £10,000 to the Cass Business School in the person of its Dean Richard Gillingwater. This was a particular delight as Cass have already produced two fine examples of advanced marketing thinking from our previous sponsorship. And so to the winner of our Regimental Award. This went to WO2 Crampton who exceeded the most stretching recruitment targets which were imposed over a short space of time. An achievement of which any Marketor would have been extremely proud.

And so to the banquet, and particularly the greeting of all the guests. This is always a pleasure but was doubly so today. There were new faces, which we were delighted to meet, but there were also those who I have known throughout my career. We were equally delighted to see our official guests who included the Masters of the Solicitors, the Plaisterers (our new home), the Chartered Secretaries and the Information Technologists (my other Company). Then there was the military contingent, led by Major General Poffley OBE. Of course there were also my sons, one of whom arrived late - but he was at an audition in Birmingham and did get the part, so is forgiven. It was a very warm welcome to all.

In addition to providing us with music throughout dinner and supporting us in the singing of Grace, a group from the Choir of St Brides delighted us with the Flower Duet from Lakme, the perfect balance to the Loving Cup and the speeches which followed. Sally welcomed the guests with the ideal balance of information and humour, while our guest speaker Ken Olisa, a consummate marketer, called on his extensive business career to regale us with tales of marketing (global IT), banking (he has one), being Master (IT Company last year) and PM's expenses (he controls them). Regrettably time did not allow for a stirrup cup but it was a truly memorable evening and an excellent start to 2012.

John Flynn
Master Marketor