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"When there's blood in the streets, you buy"


Blood IN Streets

One of the richest men on earth has been quoted as saying ‘When there’s blood in the streets, you buy.’ This man is Warren Buffet. If you don’t know him, he’s the majority shareholder of Berkshire Hathaway - currently worth $86 billion. I think he stole it from Baron Rothschild who Forbes Magazine officially credit with the saying after he made a fortune buying in the panic following the Battle of Waterloo. So, two smart guys you may think.


But what does this mean for you and me?

It means that when others choose to back out due to fear, you use science and a cool head to make pragmatic decisions on how to capitalise on unprecedented times. And between you and me, I think the whole Covid situation and most of 2020 (and certainly Q1 2021), certainly qualify as such.


Any good examples of such behaviours…?

Well, funny you should mention this...yes I think there are many good examples of this but more in a positive, proactive and company-building way, rather than just profiteering on others misfortune. 


Unless you’ve been living in a news free zone for a couple of years, you will know that 2019 was a challenging year for Train Operating Companies (TOCs); none more so than Northern Railway where chaos on timetables and late train running times became key features. Customers were furious with the delays, cancellations and congestion on the lines. Having not experienced that level of disruption first hand, I can only imagine what turmoil those poor passengers had to face.


This bleak period continued for the majority of the year until such time as the UK Government’s Transport Secretary decided to step in and take the train operating company back into public ownership, whereby the trains were stripped of their private company logos and branded with the more enticing ‘Northern’ over ‘Northern Railway' but not much else. And then Covid hit.


From March 2020, everyone across the UK was advised where possible to work from home, which resulted in passenger numbers dropping off a cliff - an almost immediate fall of c.95% in the first months of the pandemic, with numbers remaining low and flat as the summer progressed.




Here at Positive we challenged Northern and our other TOC clients to allow us to help them carve out an opportunity for the future, for when the world rights itself (starting next week by the look of things!); to help them grit their teeth and unleash the crystal ball from our CEO’s top drawer and focus on the long-term opportunity, in the belief that thinking about ‘now’ is never a good place to be, least of all when the entire world is significantly jolted due to a myriad of microscopic virus particles running riot. 

Northern pages3


Who on earth would spend money promoting train travel in a pandemic!?

Did you know that Q2 2020 was a record breaking quarter for Google? Yes, but for all the wrong reasons because advertisers spent the least money quarter on quarter on record? Huge numbers of companies panicked and pulled back their marketing spend overnight. 


But not Positive and our TOCs. As of April this year we ripped up the rule book and re-cut our plans for the entire year and beyond. Our mission: to serve the customers who have to travel AND put the business in an elevated position for 2021 and beyond. 


As a result our TOC clients have seen gargantuan leaps in online visibility from where they were this time last year. This growth has seen increases of 10,000s of additional website visitors - not just now but most importantly for the future as well. This long term (SEO driven), increase will equate to a tsunami of additional revenues once passenger numbers start to climb again. 


To be Positive is to Keep Calm and Carry On.  

Many will look back at 2020 and regard it as their 'annus horribilis'. Where sales fell away and it took years to recover customer volumes. Those who let their knee jerk reactions make critical business decisions will perhaps have to look again at some of the decisions they made.


And then there are those who will look back on 2020 and say; ‘We did our best, kept our cool and made progress,’ and they will enjoy the Positive fruits of their decision making process (and their strategic partners), and enjoy the gold rush that always seems to happen at the beginning of a recovery. 


Here at Positive we want to work with you to help grow back your business. It’s been a tough time for everyone, but if it’s possible to step back, lay all one’s cards on the table and make Positive decisions whilst all around are losing their heads, we believe we can help build you an optimistic future...short, medium and long term. So, if you’re in need of some Positivity then please do give us a call today and we’ll be happy to help. 


Dan Whitehouse

Head of Performance Marketing