40 Ways To Stack The Odds In Your Brand’s Favour
Patrick Meade, Chief Executive Officer at Boys+Girls, is here this month with his take on “Go Luck Yourself” by Andy Nairn
Luck is a four-letter-word in business circles. But the truth is that fortune plays a part in every success story – and every failure. In this book, Andy Nairn discusses 40 ways to stack the odds in your brand’s favour.
What did I think
Undeterred by the puntastic title, I was really looking forward to this book. Andy is a founder and chief strategist for Lucky Generals – one of the most successful UK start-ups in recent years, with a long list of award-winning creative effectiveness campaigns for local and international brands like Hovis and Amazon Prime.
In reality, this is less of a book and more a collection of case studies akin to the familiar style of Dave Trott’s collection of columns for Campaign that he has formed into successful books in recent years. The way the book is constructed makes this effort more useful in my opinion. While there is always a great lesson in each of Dave’s yarns, Andy gives the reader more digestible strategic advice in each chapter. There are good local and international examples to back up each piece of advice, and he extends these beyond case studies from his own career and agency. Which is good because otherwise it might read more like a CV.
The title itself is tongue in cheek. None of the examples are what you could truly describe as luck, like finding a twenty euro note on the pavement. They are really examples of broad thinking that may appear as luck to the untrained eye, but in truth are very deliberate acts. I agree with Andy that luck, and indeed its sibling ‘gut instinct’, are mistreated in commercial circles. Both are misnomers. Often used inaccurately to describe what is usually the result of a relentlessly curious mind.
This book won’t make you luckier. You won’t bounce from one Effectiveness Gold to the next just by reading it. However, it will make you a better strategic thinker. Which is unsurprising as it comes from one of the brightest planning minds of his generation.
Because Andy is well known in agency land, I think this book is more likely to be read by agency people, but I think everyone in a marketing role could read and learn from it. Many of the lessons in it apply to ‘conventional thinking’ in client organisations that end up being challenged by more free thinking (and risk tasking) agency strategists. If that conventional thinking can be challenged before the agency is briefed, it would multiply the success rate and make the challenge of selling unconventional ideas easier to stakeholders.
Who should read it
In summary, I’d advise you to read the book, be entertained by the stories, then copy and paste each of the 40 questions that end every chapter into a document. The next time you’re facing a tricky brand situation or a challenging brief, try posing these questions to the problem, one-by-one, until it sparks something. You never know. You might get lucky and find the answer staring you in the face.
★★★★ (out of 5)
I’m docking it one star because it’s a bit short and just about walks on the right side of the line between helpful advice and a Lucky Generals credentials presentation.