Patrick Carmody is head of strategy at Thumbtribe (;; @thumbtribebiz) and spent 12 years at leading communications agencies in South Africa and the UK. His interests lie in local/mobile/social innovation, user-experience design and systems-driven leadership.
Email him at and follow @paddycarmody on Twitter.
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Meet me at the 'ZMOT'

YAY, ANOTHER ACRONYM! Heck, I know, but here goes: so ZMOT is a term coined by Google and it refers to the actions we take once we have been stimulated to act by marketing stimuli.

By Patrick Carmody 14 Feb 2012

The unsexy secret of great service: containing the system

What do McDonalds, my favourite restaurant, Woothemes and have in common? They all offer excellent service in their respective categories and 'customer expectation sets' and they all contain the offering, thereby limiting the chances of pain points in the customer experience.

By Patrick Carmody 1 Dec 2011

Experience mapping: the new frontier in brand leadership

As a brand leader do you have a map of your optimal brand experience? Does your team have an ideal vision for each part of your brand experience? Do all of the 'shapers' of the brand experience understand the part that they play in executing against this vision?

By Patrick Carmody 1 Jul 2011

Marketing: cloudy, with a chance of meatball sundaes

In the words of Seth Godin,a lot of marketing these days looks like a meatball sundae, with your core offering being the meatballs and the topping being blogs, twitter, viral ads and product placement. Doesn't anyone feel the need to get back to basics?

By Patrick Carmody 26 Apr 2010

To know it is to love it

If this statement rings true after your brand name, you have a holistic approach to brand-building.

By Patrick Carmody 22 Jun 2009

Banning the word brand

Gather around, adfolk, this is big. We gonna be changing some of our adspeak now. Seeing that the concept of brand is far too veiled in mystique and jargon, let's try this. Let's drop this word brand and start talking about experience for staff and customers. Everything visual we can call visual identity design.

By Patrick Carmody 22 May 2009

Google killer, brand killer

On an infamous Friday in 1993, Marlboro rocked the business world by slashing the price of its premium brand - a mini-crash ensued as all brands were suddenly deemed brittle. ‘Marlboro Friday' has since proved to be a wobble rather than a seismic shift as brands have continued to command healthy and often increasing profit margins over a sustained period. The recent launch of search engine Cuil (28 July 2008), although seemingly innocuous, again raises some Marlboro Friday-type questions around the value of brands, this time in the Web 2.0 economy.

By Patrick Carmody 15 Aug 2008

Brands are our frenemies

Brand-bashing used to be seen as anti-capitalist and was therefore largely ignored by big business. This polarised view can now evolve as economic prosperity lives comfortably with less brand hype in an Internet-enabled world.

By Patrick Carmody 1 Aug 2008

Volvo meets customer 2.0

Volvo is widely recognised as one of only a few brands that have summited the Everest of Brand Positioning i.e. it has succeeded globally in owning a single-minded, relevant and sustainable idea in the mind of a valuable market segment. Well, a recent dysfunctional experience with the brand dismantled something that took over 50 years and millions of dollars to build. Albeit, in the mind of one customer.

By Patrick Carmody 4 Mar 2008

Vawter, Vawter... everywhere?

Drinks giants SAB Miller and Distell recently launched two new brands into the hyper-competitive RTD market with no established consumer category to launch from and pretty weird names to boot. Will Sarita and Vawter rely on their parent companies' channel dominance and slick new packaging to see them through?

By Patrick Carmody 13 Feb 2008

Be critical of even the most progressive

Last year's article Woolworths Foods: customer champions, environmental villain? was met with a vociferous response from the South African marketing community – effectively from one camp, “How dare one question the credibility of the shining star of the SA retailing firmament?” Part II explains in more detail why we need to have a critically engaged relationship with even our most progressive companies.

By Patrick Carmody 22 Jan 2008

How 'post-TV' are we?

Contemporary discussions around branding tell us that we live in a post mass-media age characterised by a cynical consumer, over-traded product categories and a proliferation of brand contact points. How relevant is all of this new media hype to marketers in South Africa?

By Patrick Carmody 9 Jan 2008

Woolworths Foods: customer champion, environmental villain?

We all love the convenience of a pre-prepared sandwich. However, we rarely give a second thought to the fact that our R25.99 prawn and rocket sandwich might also carry a steep environmental cost.

By Patrick Carmody 29 Nov 2007

The perils of ‘made for Internet' ads

In the age of Web 2.0, brands with a bit of brainpower and some help from the viral gods have potential to give their brands broadcast-like exposure with very little budget. There is no doubt that some brands are going to get it right but in the process we are going to see the Internet being swamped with tepid brand sludge.

By Patrick Carmody 24 May 2007

Would the real innovators please stand up?

Traditional ad agencies often take the heat for their archaic brand solutions which fail to adapt to the modern ‘consumer/media/brand-scape'. On closer inspection it appears that it is the marketers who have the real catching up to do.

By Patrick Carmody 27 Feb 2007

Animals as brand icons - arbitrary choice or smart strategic move?

From Ferrari's prancing horse to the Lacoste crocodile, animals have been used as powerful brand icons for hundreds of years. Why do animals make such powerful brand icons?

By Patrick Carmody 23 Jan 2007

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