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PROFILE: David Smith - Marketing Director, Canon

Personality can be a vital component of effective marketing both in terms of communications messages themselves and the brands behind them. B2B marketing, however, is all too often criticised for being devoid of personality – sometimes rightly, sometimes wrongly. Personality-free marketing is bland, soulless and utterly divorced from the individuals who created it and (more importantly) those that it is designed to appeal to. In other words, it doesn't work. So when a marketing initiative comes along that is based on real personality, it tends to stand out: it has integrity, achieves cut-through, and – for want of a better word – has an 'X' factor which makes people take notice.

One such initiative was the 'Small steps...' campaign, developed for Canon Business Solutions by Tidalwave (see B2B Marketing's Channel Marketing supplement, distributed with February 07 issue). Its aim was to communicate the business benefits of Canon's printing products to SMEs and channel partners, using the analogy of physical health and fitness to promote ideas of healthy business and financial vitality, and will provide a springboard for a whole series of initiatives utilising the same theme.

Although the agency undoubtedly played a key role in developing the final proposition, it is apparent that the campaign's genealogy is a consequence of the unlikely pairing of Canon's cutting edge printing technology with the intense fitness regime of its UK marketing director David Smith. In this way, the campaign has – unusually – evolved directly from the major personality traits of the brand, and its lead marketer.