Cover of book denouncing excessive bureaucracy across corporations

The Ministry of Commonsense
How to Eliminate Bureaucratic Red Tape, Bad Excuses, and Corporate BS

By Martin Lindstrom
Published by John Murray Learning

A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away, professionals had lost their discernment and many offices were wasting a stellar amount of time, energy and money, as a result. Is this a joke?! Actually, the only sense in which it’s a joke is that the offices in question aren’t found in outer space but they are the very employers for whom we work every day of our lives! A new rebel book has come to the rescue, The Ministry of Commonsense: How to Eliminate Bureaucratic Red Tape, Bad Excuses, and Corporate BS, by global consumer strategist, Martin Lindstrom, explores this perplexing phenomenon with a wealth of examples and many hilarious stories from the author’s clients such as logistics giant Maersk; supermarket chains; Chartered Standard and other financial multinationals; Shell Oil; Toyota; Microsoft; Nortel; McDonald’s, Nestlé, and a plethora of other culprits from the travel & leisure industry like hotel groups, airports and airlines…

Ultimately, as the book’s many case studies prove, if corporations are able to put some common sense back at the centre of their strategies, they will inevitably reap many rewards: generating cost-savings, improving the culture, and strengthening the customer experience. This is why commonsense needs rescuing – NOW.

The challenge

Another ‘Covid campaign’ with all the resulting difficulties — in particular, getting journalists’ attention during the national lockdown and getting them interested in a topic which could seem rather fickle (actually, this is just a superficial impression, since the mushrooming bureaucracy across corporations represents a serious problem. I think that one of the reasons why it was a real challenge to get my message across is that we are part of the ‘bureaucratic problem’ in the sense that we all work in offices awash with bureaucracy. This means that on the one hand it’s more difficult to notice it and on the other we’ve become so used to this phenomenon that we’ve come to accept some rather bewildering situations). Due to the Covid, the book’s launch was delayed of several months, from June 2020 to January 2021 and the various PR teams (UK & Europe headed by me; USA; and Asia) had to rise to the challenge.

The solution

I had no choice but to invest much more time than expected in this campaign. What would usually take a few calls, in the present context required at least the double of calls and of time. So, I had to carefully think about all the angles present in the book from the lighter/ more entertaining ones (as mentioned, the case studies were hilarious) to the more serious ones, e.g. the loss of productivity/ potential revenue by a workforce concentrating on navigating the company’s systems rather than in doing their job. Moreover, I targeted all the various trade publications/ events corresponding to the different industries appearing in the book.

The result

I must say that the outcome of the long hours spent thinking about the subject’s different angles; devising pitches; researching all the media & other opportunities; discussing things with everyone involved, justified this huge effort. The book was selected among the ‘best business books’ for January in leading business daily, The Financial Times, and Martin was later interviewed for a column in the same newspaper. In addition, the events arm of the Financial Times, FT Live, invited him to speak at a series of talks debating the ‘new workplace’. Yahoo Finance — a real PR coup: c. 514M MUVs worldwide !! — featured a long interview with Martin. Management Today, the UK’s leading management media, selected Martin’s book among their ‘best titles for 2021’ and they also published a long feature by him. Moreover, a wealth of other media including The Drum (marketing, 1 Million MUVs); Contagious (marketing, 74.4K followers on Twitter); Loyalty magazine (50K+ MUVs); Business & Management magazine (Inst. of Chartered Accountants of England & Wales); Personnel Today (327+ MUVs); (250K MUVs); All About Shipping; and Hotel Management International… all covered the book at length.

Since the title was launched recently (21st of January 2021) some PR is still ongoing, for example, I’m collaborating with a large corporation featured in the book. Moreover, Martin is being interviewed by one of the main current affairs TV programmes in the UK.