Another glorious Scottish failure

It’s late 1997, and a young publishing executive called Mark Ellison is approaching Celtic Park with an unusually large bag. Generally outgoing, Mark feels oddly anxious as he checks in to a press reception at which Celtic FC will unveil the signing of Paul Lambert from Borussia Dortmund. Instead of following the other journalists into the press room, he makes a beeline for the toilets.

Locking himself a cubicle, Mark takes a deep breath, unzips the bag and pulls out a man-sized Scottie dog costume. As well as the normal features you would expect from a dog outfit, it also…


A flattering letter from two former Cabinet ministers inviting me to participate in the ‘Parliamentary Review’, was not all that it seemed. I ended up feeling scammed and wondering how politicians can be so out of touch with the concerns of business owners.

A few weeks before Christmas, I received a letter (dated 23 November 2018) from Lord Pickles. Pickles is a Tory Peer, a former Chair of the Conservative party and a former Cabinet minister.

The letter told me that I was one of a number of company owners who had been chosen to contribute to this year’s Parliamentary Review, a publication showcasing businesses across the UK, large and small — and which, last year, featured a preface from the Prime Minister. If willing to contribute and write a 1,000-word article about ‘the challenges you have faced’ and ‘your hopes for the…


A few years ago I had the pleasure of meeting the entrepreneur Simon Woodroffe (YO! Sushi & Dragons’ Den). He told me about the day he tried on a Fedora hat in a shop and had a lightbulb moment. The hat suited him and he realised he should wear one regularly as a signature mark of his personal brand. He’s done so ever since and carries it off with considerable aplomb (pictured below).

Inspired by this tale, I would like to unveil my own personal branding initiative. From now on, I will be wearing bunny ears (also pictured below) –…


A flurry of independent launches, an annual magazine festival and ambitious plans for an international magazine centre. Discover why Edinburgh is the new northern powerhouse of indie mag publishing

Liverpool has the Beatles, Henley has rowing and Melton Mowbray is the spiritual home of the pork pie. When it comes to claims to fame, Edinburgh is spoilt for choice — festivals, the Castle, ‘salt & sauce’ — but now Scotland’s capital is also making fresh waves in the media world. There’s a strong argument for saying that Edinburgh is the new northern powerhouse of indie magazine publishing.

On 16 September, magazine professionals from across the world will converge on the city for Magfest (the Edinburgh International Magazine Festival), run by PPA Scotland. And alongside a MagCulture shop and headline…


The CMA Summit in London provided so much appetising brain food that my head feels like a well-nourished watermelon. Here are 13 paraphrased observations I jotted down

1 Anna Watkins, Guardian Labs: In this cluttered world, anything boring is ignored and, unfortunately, there is a lot of very boring brand content out there. (So true)

2 Ben McKay, MEC: 37% of shared content is editorial. That’s more than video or images and far more than tools, calculators, interactive, PDFs etc. Powerful shared content doesn’t need to be expensive – you just need to write good stuff.

3 Genevieve Kunst, Popsugar…


I just managed to get a sneak preview of seven brilliant new indie mags — these are going to be massive in 2016:

Crepe
Blissful travelogues in beige from the Copenhagen arts collective of the same name. 140 pages of frou-frou vignettes in serene pastel. Also contains articles on macaroons.

Spam Javelin
Provocative Prague-based mash-up of 1970s track & field athletics, processed meat and transgender politics. Geoff Capes as you’ve never seen him before.

Bus & Mackerel
A bold montage of buses and mackerel juxtaposed against rude words found on the walls of public toilets in Altrincham. Unexpected, unsettling, important.

Fraser Allen

I help organisations with their content and communications, produce the Scottish Business Network podcast and curate social media for the Library of Mistakes.

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