July 29, 2006

Halt! Who Goes There?

Now, don't worry, I'm not about to go all technical on you but I have been catching up with the excellent (if rather grandly-titled) Thought Leaders podcast over the past few weeks and particularly enjoyed the Interview with David Sifry, the founder of Technorati which tracks the content of blog discussions worldwide and makes them 'searchable' in a similar way to Google.

I did tune out a little when David got too technical but my ears pricked up when I heard him say that he thought Blogs (as the successors to Bulletin Boards) had made electronic conversations much more thoughtful. He argued that the way in which we can identify more immediately with the person hosting a blog meant that we are much more likely to be polite and friendly when exchanging comments, ideas or even hotly-contested differences of opinion.

That's my sense too. Bulletin boards have always struck me as being more akin to public graffiti (which I find almost invariably hostile). My few tentative efforts at participating left me feeling rather exposed. Blogs, whether they're generated by contrarians or corporations, feel to me more personal and real.

For brand-owners who wish to begin a lively and friendly electronic exchange with their customers, a blog seems a good place to start.

Technorati Tag: Technorati, Thought Leaders, David Sifry, Blog

July 23, 2006

Mirror, Mirror On The Wall

Following my visit to Galway and the House Hotel, I found myself visiting the website of the Morrison Hotel in Dublin The Morrison, which describes itself as "probably the coolest and most luxurious city centre hotel" in Dublin.

Whilst I’ve never been able to lay claim to being cool myself, I can just about tell when somebody or something else is cool (no, really!) and claiming to be cool usually disqualifies in my experience. So, Morrison Hotel, fun to visit and luxurious, certainly, but coolest – I don’t think so...

Technorati Tag: Morrison Hotel

July 18, 2006

Let's Play House

Am writing this at the artfully-named House Hotel, which has recently opened in Galway. They tell me that they aim to take care of me as a houseguest rather than a visitor and have taken this idea for a walk through their brand mark (a cat curled up asleep) and the playful language in which they describe the various parts of the business (The Den, The Parlour Bar & Grill) whilst the Do Not Disturb signs have been replaced with Cat Napping!

(Thankfully, I was directed to the washrooms rather than the litter-tray...).

It always appeals to me when a brand manages to be both stylish and friendly at the same time; too many brands have one at the expense of the other. You could say that the House left me purring!

The Boy In The Bubble

Was rear-ended in a minor car accident (“Does my bum look dented in this?”) and found that I spent the last few days driving around town and daring other drivers to squeeze through narrow gaps in the traffic. Or at the very least not caring too much if they come too close. Another scrape between now and my return to the repair-shop will make little difference. I feel strangely brave, almost untouchable.
I’ve sometimes sensed this same faint belligerence in service staff who I suspect are probably on a last warning or about to finish a holiday job: “You can’t touch me!”
Seems to me it’s far too dangerous to entrust your brand to someone who’s daring the world to land a blow on them. When someone couldn’t care less, it shows, and the customer on the receiving end is only too quick to take his business elsewhere.

July 15, 2006

I'll Huff & I'll Puff

Heard someone from the European GSM Association, which represents the mobile phone operators, defending the awful roaming charges that his members levy on their customers. He argued that the relatively inexpensive entry charges to mobile accounts, typically achieved through subsidised handsets, somehow justified higher charges elsewhere.

He added an extended ‘buyer beware’ (“we always publish details of our roaming charges”) that strikes me as the type of “read the small print, sucker!” retort that you would expect from a shyster rather than from a group of companies that cosy up to the prospective customer at every opportunity with the suggestion that they have your interests at heart (‘How are you? See what you can do. Your world, your way...etc).  As a customer, I don’t want to read the small print. I want to buy from companies I can trust to deliver a good service and charge a fair price. Companies that lure me with sweet deals and then catch me unawares when my guard is down are hucksters and leave the market wide open to a new entrant who truly has my interests at heart.

Technorati Tag: Mobile Phone Operators, European GSM Association, Roaming Charges

July 07, 2006

After The Ball Is Over

Read a report in Media & Marketing in the Irish Times that suggests that sports sponsorship in Ireland is enjoying only limited success in terms of recall amongst consumers. In particular, the link made between Permanent TSB and their sponsorship of the Irish Rugby Team (which has just come off a successful Six Nations campaign) was poor, whilst other sponsors only fared slightly better.

I wonder whether it's because the sponsor really hasn't established any credentials in terms of the relationship that's touted. It's one thing to hang out with the coolest guy in the class, but the other kids soon see through hanging on to someone else's coat-tails in the hope of catching some reflected glory. Guinness, on the other hand, strike me as having done a much better job in terms of underlining their relationship with the game of hurling: Guinness Print Ad.

Technorati Tag: Brand, Guinness, Sports Sponsorship

July 04, 2006

Over The Hills

I've had some enquiries from people looking to track down our previous blog, which ran for a few months last year and followed the branding of Paul Lanigan from both Paul's and my point of view.

You'll find it not so far away at Paul Lanigan Opens Up whilst you can keep up to date on what Paul did next at Paul Lanigan's Website.

Technorati Tag: Brand, Paul Lanigan

...And I'll Eat You For Supper.

Learned just now that Scottish tourism is losing £286 million due to midges. It's hard to believe that a little creature like that (barely a millimetre long according to the report) can take such a big bite. And I thought the only monsters in Scotland were to be found in Loch Ness.

Mind you, it makes you wonder what little unseen nasties might be taking chunks out of our own tourist industry. Misleading roadsigns, grasping charges for broadband and the under-the-breath protests of increasingly resentful staff..?