Source: Unsplash, Credit: Yannick Pulver

In memoriam Raymond Monbiot CBE

Raymond Monbiot was lucky enough to begin his business career as a trainee with Joe Lyons when it was reaching its apotheosis at the beginning of the 1960s.  They wouldn’t have called it “marketing” but that is what they were doing with innovations in restaurants, pioneering computers and the Wimpy chain of burger bars alongside the corner houses and bakery business which had made them famous. He was there for over 20 years, rising to become CEO of three subsidiaries before moving on to four years as CEO of Associated Biscuits and six as Chairman and managing director of Campbells Soups. Thereafter his consultancy company, Rotherfield Management, helped many companies restore their fortunes.

Few marketers graduate to become CEOs and even fewer graduate from being CEOs to marketers but Raymond was one of them. He joined the Marketing Society in 1978 and was elected Honorary Fellow 20 years later. In 1999, he wrote an article for Campaign showing how the GM foods industry had, in essence, messed up their marketing and lost the war of perceptions. He wrote “Mobilising positive perceptions is a shorthand for effective marketing.”

Monbiot was best known for his contribution to the Conservative Party where he headed all the voluntary roles except the Conservative Women’s Organisation. His impressive interpersonal skills brought the cohesion no one else could match and for which he was appointed MBE and then CBE. Teaching marketing however, as all readers of this column will recognise, to politicians and political activists is akin to pushing water up hill.  The best ones practice it unknowingly but none of them have opened a marketing textbook in their lives. Getting formal marketing into the heads of politicians eluded even Monbiot.

Raymond Monbiot was a great man who practiced what he preached and will be much missed.  

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