Durden: lured back to the industry by Borkowski
Durden: lured back to the industry by Borkowski
A view from Jonathan Durden

Jonathan Durden: How game-changer Borkowski lured me back

Campaign asked me why I am returning to our business after a break of 18 months, living up in the Spanish mountains with only goats and widows for company. Well, I cannot resist the lure of an opportunity to be in the right place at the right time.

In 1990, I co-founded PHD because it was our time. The market obligingly had coughed up the then muscle-flexing, bulk-buying group Zenith, which in turn created a gap for creative planning in media.

To fill that gap was the most intoxicating thrill of my career. The proverbial ducks are now in their mythical row once more.

First, marketing has no real heroes. If we must rely upon Lord Sugar to represent us, that is tragic. He may be an entrepreneurial genius, but he is a branding imbecile. There is a vacancy for an engaging expert (not me, Mark).

Second, a bypass around many media makes control more difficult. Brand messages on Facebook for Andrex or Kellogg just seem to miss the point, for me. Nourishing conversations and stewarding millions are best handled with evolved highbrow PR skills at their centre.

The time has come to re-examine which numbers count. Is it the billings or ratings, or is it how many real conversations are being meaningfully held or created?

If trust in the media, religion, the law and government are undermined, then where does that leave a brand to build any robust credibility?

The existing marketing groups are not necessarily the right place to start. Their business models are steeped in adver-tising creativity and using media primarily as a subsidising revenue stream. Being closer to the public demands some different thinking and a change in the hierarchy.

Mark Borkowski is very unusual. Many people in his set choose to hide behind the camera, but he is like an omnipresent life force. For the past 25 years, he has been the most significant PR man in consumer space, handled more crisis management than Rebekah Brooks' underwear laundry service and has more friends in advertising than in PR.

I love his plan and he is a game-changer: this combination of collaborators with a mix of brand expertise, PR, social media and content provision all linked to executional companies.

It is what lies at the centre that is key, and that is PR and brand management. The social media that increasingly dominate demands that this discipline forms the heart of an offering.

But this is no grateful service proposition; it is going to be loud, proud, connected and packing investment. The new hybrid consultancy is called Borkowski.do.