December 20, 2006

By George, I've (Almost) Got It

Was visiting Limerick earlier this week where I was working with the owners of the just-opened My client suggested that I sample the lunch offering at another new arrival, the boutique George Hotel, on my way back to the railway station.

Given the style and profile of the George, I expected it to be awash with bright young things. Instead, it was jammed with bright old things (myself amongst them). I think I’ve been guilty of falling into a trap alongside most of my fellow marketers. Why wouldn’t a sixty- or seventy-something fancy the oh-so-cool interiors of a boutique hotel? One senior at a table near mine confessed to her lunch-companion that she had been “dying to try the George since it opened three weeks ago”.

Like me, I’ll bet the developers of the George never anticipated such a broad appeal in their new place. I wonder what other opportunities we’re missing when we take such a narrow view of our customer?

December 14, 2006

Have Your Cake...

Just spotted an impressive magazine ad for South Africa, which featured a view over the plains from a lodge-type spa and suggested that here is where 'Spoilt Meets Unspoilt'. And I asked, is it really?

Whilst a favourite parlour trick of the great brands is to resolve apparent contradictions (think Nike which allows Couch Potato to meet Athletic God), I’m not so sure that the Spoilt can meet the Unspoilt too often and get away with it. Here in Ireland, Guinness Lite ran into a similar brick wall some time ago. I also believe this particular contradiction is a little played out in advertising for the world’s great beauty spots.

But there are lots of other great brand contradictions out there. The classic Golden Pages’ ‘Let Your Fingers Do The Walking’ is one of my favourites – what’s yours?

December 10, 2006

Someday My Prince Will Come

In turning an eye and ear occasionally to what's happening in the online world, I'm inclined to ask: "Where do they get the energy?". The activity out there is extraordinary. There are new places being created for people to congregate every other minute and each has its regulars.

I recently tuned into the Lincoln-backed My Dream where visitors are invited to share their dreams and 'create, achieve, embark, transform and give back'. It's teeming with the projects, wishes, ambitions and pipe-dreams of hundreds of people from around the world.

Places like this put me in mind of the French short story where the bachelor sister and brother apparently find their perfect match through the personal ads. They agree to meet only to discover that the other is the dream lover of their correspondence. I recall Barry Manilow had a song along the same lines (Do you like pina colada? etc).

Whilst I can't see us all decamping en masse, I wonder whether these social sites will in time find us living in silence alongside neighbours and family whilst daring only to communicate our deepest desires to virtual strangers? Or whether they'll simply provide us with richer and more varied ways in which to speak to each other?

Where do you see it headed? And what do you think are the implications for your business?

December 02, 2006

And That's Final!

Stung a little by the absence of comments to all but one of my previous posts (Emma, take another bow), I wrote to a small number of colleagues inviting them to join in the conversation.

A client and friend of mine, Paul Lanigan (who's also a keen blogger: see his Clear Thinking Straight Talking) got back to me to say that my blogging experience wasn't uncommon and that people generally prefer to observe rather than participate. He also suggested that I might encourage more commentary if I were to finish each blog with a question (much like a call to action) rather than an observation.

That makes such a lot of sense. Why bother to comment when the writer seems to think he's had the last word? (No, that's not my question to finish - I think Paul meant something more than a rhetorical question!).

Here it is: Anyone know of any other ways in which I might encourage readers to get involved and make this blog much more than a one-way conversation?

Now you've no excuse. Over to you!