Ah, it’s a tough life! Last week saw me in my black tie at the Grosvenor House hotel on Park Lane for two award dinners: that for Retail Week on the 16th of March, and the Revolution Magazine awards dinner (for which awards I’d played a small part as a judge).
I was a guest of Conchango at the Retail Week awards and Mike Altendorf and his team were hospitable, generous and highly convivial hosts. The table was just great, with people from M&S, Ann Summers, Comet and Currys, as well as the esteemed CIO at Littlewoods, Martin Wyke.
Our table was a small “digital enclave” and my overwhelming thought about the awards (the next day, as the headache cleared) was how traditional the retail industry is. The people I met all seemed to have worked in the industry for many years, often working through either M&S or GUS or both. These companies clearly provide the basis of training and networking for the industry and I’m sure that an award is due to them for that!
eCommerce is clearly making an impact, but it’s still “other” and “new”. Companies like Conchango (and also Javelin) are championing “integrated commerce”, building upon the tradition capabilities in buying and distribution, but it’s still a matter of turning oil tankers…
The Revolution awards could not have been more different. The gathering was younger, focused on digital marketing and ecommerce, and there was a confident, “up” feeling to the evening from the start.
At some point in my career I’d hope to have the buzz, talent, can-do creativity and digital sparkle from the Revolution evening meet fully the experience, merchandising and capability in the Retail Week camp. Then we’d know that the 21st Century eCommerce aspirations are becoming a reality!
Phil Buxton did really well on the podium and will shortly be tying the knot at his wedding: congrats to Phil – let us know which speech was the most nerve-wracking (my money’s on the wedding speech!).
My final resolution though is to go and see more live, stand-up comedy: The Pub Landlord (Revolution) and Dara o’Brien (RW) were both great: sharp, funny and clearly bemused by (aka not giving a toss about) the events – wonderful!
More shots from the CrapCam after the jump.
Yes, these were the Revolution awards. No-one stormed the stage though: the Purple Revolution?
Mad amounts of chatting: this was during the meal and general announcings – people were just up, about and chatting like mad. A really great atmosphere. I was, of course, totally well behaved and sat in my seat politely. Oh yes.
Behind the “curtains of exclusivity” of the ballroom… the reality of the hotel building. Nice.
The alcohol flowed and no-one had heard about impending smoking bans 😉 Digital marketing drink and smoke more than retailers, imho (and recent experience!).