Baby It’s Foul Outside

For 2023 BBD Perfect Storm get ready for foulweather marketing

Tony Quinn, BBD Perfect Storm

Chief Strategy Officer


Well, 2023 looks to be a right barrel of laughs.

A cursory flick through The World Ahead In 2023 makes The Exorcist read like a saunter through the rolling hills of Yorkshire on a summer’s day: “Cloudy with a chance of pain”, “Global Instability”, “The beast of stagflation”, “The sick man of Europe”.

So, as we look ahead, it’s no great leap to suggest we face a period of significant instability and uncertainty – a perfect storm of eroding customer spending power aligned with an increased pressure on prices.

Time to batten down the hatches, wait for the storm to pass and the waters to settle. Stay calm and carry on. However, there is, of course, another perspective. It’s one built not on shying away from the turbulent waters we face, but by diving into them. One that looks to up our marketing game rather than shelving it until the sun returns.

One that is less concerned with fairweather marketing, and more concerned with Foulweather Marketing.

Foulweather Marketing is about helping when it is needed most, supporting when it is most welcomed, inspiring when all hope is lost and being hopeful when everything feels hopeless. It’s about building bridges towards a better reality, a new reality. One where people can live a little more of the life they would like to live, not through making it cheaper, but through making it richer.

Now some might scoff and dismiss such grand notions as the onset of madness, the rumblings and mumblings of a purpose-obsessed generation who have lost sight of the true meaning of marketing.

Naive. A pipedream, no less.

Foulweather Marketing is neither. 

Foulweather Marketing recognises the darkness we are living through (quite literally), but provides a little light, so the unbearable feels a little less so. It’s customer marketing, albeit with a profoundly different set of needs.

Furthermore, our history is littered with deep social troughs and equally littered with a broad church of marketing success stories that were written as a consequence of the times, not despite them.

Fundamentally, Fairweather Marketing recognises that the value we place in anything or anyone is most profoundly felt at the time when it is needed most - and if our jobs are concerned with building deep, rich, enduring customer brand relationships then embracing the spirit of Foulweather Marketing can only be a good thing

So, with that in mind, we at Perfect Storm look ahead not with predictions, but with resolutions:

  • We resolve never to whinge about the social climate. It simply marks a change, and isn’t that what we have always concerned ourselves with? Our clients want leadership and navigation not shared, shallow sentiment.
  • We instead resolve to lean into this climate, to make Foulweather Marketing our north star, reimagining brands and their customers, through one simple question: how can we help? To get back to basics. To review positionings - all the Ps, not just the Price ‘P.’ To work forensically in and around the insights that frame our customer’s relationship with the period in which they live and embrace the creation of a Foulweather Marketing Plan. As Les Binet suggested in his recent Webinar, ‘The World Turned Upside Down’, don’t slash budgets, don’t slash prices, don’t slash anything other than lazy thinking. Instead optimise through econometric modelling - we believe that’s time and effort that will be well spent.
  • We resolve to do so by staying in our lanes, the lanes each brand belongs in, helping authentically through core competencies, through deeds not words, avoiding the meandering rhetoric that defined the early lockdown weeks and months
  • We resolve to work with our clients to galvanise their entire organisation around the spirit of Foulweather Marketing, emotionally and commercially. To rally them around a new reality of optimism and opportunity in the understanding that we will never succeed in transformation if it doesn’t start with the inside out. Foulweather Marketing always begins from the inside out. 

As the saying goes, there’s no such thing as bad weather: Only being poorly prepared and equipped for it.

Tony Quinn, Chief Strategy Officer, BBD Perfect Storm


Ultimately, we resolve to make 2023 a year when we say ‘enough already’, a year when we focus not on intellectualising but action, making a difference, one customer, one brand, one society at a time. How wonderful would that be? It might not hasten the journey through the turbulent waters that lie ahead, but it would certainly calm them.

As the saying goes, there’s no such thing as bad weather: Only being poorly prepared and equipped for it.

Bring on 2023.  


Guest Author

Tony Quinn, BBD Perfect Storm

Chief Strategy Officer, BBD Perfect Storm


Considering his youthful looks (his words not ours), it will come as a surprise to many that Tony is one of the most experienced strategists in his field. Having led some of London’s most admired agencies, Tony has worked in just about every category, from finance to fashion, from super-lux to stack-it-high-and-sell-it-cheap, at all four corners of the globe. There’s little he doesn’t know about strategy (again, his words not ours). During this time, he has ridden many economic peaks and troughs and looks ahead to 2023, and beyond, with these years, and many more, in mind. Tony’s very quick to mention he was recognised at one of the UK’s Top 10 strategists three years in succession but maybe not so quick to mention he was 10th in each. He likes his eggs sunny-side up, his glasses half full and looks at life through rose tinted glasses. He supports Leeds United.

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