Sunday, 29 April 2007

Country Marketing Woes...

So I’ve been reflecting this long weekend…. Not to harp on the Italian trip, but it got me thinking about the topic of Marketing and my endless quest for a positively consistent consumer experience. Although I think each person reacts differently to every experience, I believe there are common elements making up a positive experience for most people. Whether they are subliminal or conscious.

Lets take Italy…. In my previous blog I said I might have romanticised the idea of Italy BUT like a typical researcher I did my homework on each city (even if I had been before) and all the visual info looked fantastic….(I even read blogs!) It all looked just like a well-conceived marketing plan. So I purchased the goods.

Marketing the essence of a country is pretty easy from a distance using all the usual mediums…. Delivering on the experience is far from easy! Sound familiar!? A small example, we arrived in Venice (airport) and caught a water taxi to our hotel. We were the only ones on the taxi and as any traveller normally does, we all started soaking up our surroundings via our senses….. The boat driver oke was playing ‘guns and roses’ pretty loud and it was early in the morning. So the feeling… well a little odd. Delicate mist had settled eerily on the water and the romantic Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute (church) was floating silently at the entrance of the Grand Canal, we had Axl Rose screeching his heart out. I appreciate that not everything can be controlled and I am substantially anal when it comes to details BUT to really have the complete Italian experience would have required Axl singing to a vastly different tune! This may be one small example, but these added up make up one BIG confusing experience!

My primary business value is to make a difference, and I am more often than not categorised in the marketing/ad agency arena especially, because I work with strategy. I never want to be in a situation where I assist a client that has no intention of ever being authentic, yet wants me to assist with building a strategy that communicates authenticity to a base of consumers.…that would be like selling my soul.
So what business am I really in? Do businesses really want to make a difference in the lives of their customers? Do they really care and are they really trying to be authentic? These days consumers are far from stupid.
Does Italy really care? Will we really care in 2010 and will we provide an authentic experience (excluding the crime of course!)… mmm… can you train a nation to provide an experience? Sure the cultures make up a large part of the experience, but its more than that. Lets hope visitors to SA don’t feel cheated. Would be nice to know what the gov's plans are…..

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Italy and Europe in general for me is a destination that needs to be frequented when all other options of a holiday destination have been exhausted. Yes its true and you will not cath me there again unless its business related.
I believe that as South Africans we get far better value for our rand in our own country. There is soooo much that most S.Africans have not seen in this great country and at a fraction of the cost we can have great holidays - right here in our own back yard. No long flights or big suitcases that look like coffins.
Oh yes, and I forgot, the beers are a whole pile cheaper so therefor you can wake up with a headache from beer and not the hotel bills.

In the future there are only three choices of holiays options for me being Mauritius, Seychelles or our own beloved Africa. Holidaying in Europe as good S.A citizens we are looking for value for money, quality food and clean accom. Is that too much to ask? Maybe as South Africans we are just to fussy? - Not sure but I know one thing for sure is that I am done with Europe and am glad to be home. Anybody for the Islands or the swamps???