Monday, March 12, 2007

Waimanalo Beach - Paradise unknown

If one wanted to know what would be one of the BEST beaches in the world, Waimanalo Beach on Oahu in Hawaii would be in that exclusive category. Waimanalo is located on the eastern side of Oahu, approximately 25mins drive from the tourist traffic of Waikiki. Waimanalo Beach is 8.8 kms long and is the longest stretch of sandy beach on Oahu.

Services and Amenities

  • Lifeguards
  • Restrooms
  • Showers
  • Phones
  • Sandy beach
  • Shady areas
  • Great swimming, bodyboarding, surfing
  • Closed at dark
It is secluded, it is seductive, it is pristine, it is breathtaking. Waimanalo is paradise within a paradise. You really have to see this beach to believe it. Not only is it picture postcard perfect, it doesn't have the crowds of Waikiki, it doesn't have the dangerous surf of the North Shore of Hawaii, it is family friendly, there is ample parking space and the location itself is almost mystical with the clouds rolling over the emerald jaggered mountain range. More distinctly, is the fact that there are no hotels in Waimanalo so it is very much locally flavoured with Hawaiian shops selling Hawaiian food, arts and crafts and sometimes you will see Hawaiian families celebrating birthdays or weddings in the beach park with huge feasts. If you are really really lucky, you may even be invited to join in the celebration. Waimanalo is a Polynesian paradise.

Although I wouldn't want to see more tourists in this little aquatic cul de sac of Oahu, this is what I would do to further improve the attraction of Waimanalo:
  • Introduce electric bbq's right along the beach for families/people to cook at the beach
  • Improve the changing rooms
Someone should design and develop a 3m X 3m outdoor beach frame in a perfect spot for pictures like this one at Wenderholm Beach (Auckland, NZ).
    • All you have to do is stand in the middle of the frame and smile. The beach will form the background behind you, your friends and/or family. How amazing is that!!!

Here are a few ideas to enhance Waimanalo Beach's branding:
  • put up better signage
  • have a display board illustrating the history of the beach
  • have some art like a large carving, or a sculpture at the entrance to welcome people to the beach like Waikiki has a Duke Kahanamoku statue which tourists now use to take memorable holiday pictures
  • introduce home stays in this area if there none.
    • some tourists like to get a feel for a place by staying with locals.
    • introduce eco-tourism in the area especially in the foothills of the mountain range
  • introduce outrigging canoe races there.
    • this is a popular sport in Polynesia and Waimanalo is perfect for this activity
  • Waimanalo's marketing could be promoted by not promoting it but using word of mouth
    • Waimanalo is a place that you either know about or you don't. Sometimes, people will flock to a place if it is known as a 'secret spot'
  • Introduce a "family day" once a month where families get to come to the beach and enjoy themselves in a safe environment.
    • and besides most kids love the beach
  • Have a webcam positioned somewhere on the beach
    • some people would love to see the beach from the comforts of their homes via their computers after their vacation
    • this will bring back pleasant memories of visiting Hawaii for a lot of tourists
    • this will aid the word of mouth if people could see what their friends/family are talking about.
    • it is one thing seeing the beach on a computer monitor but being there and locating it is everything.
You got the luuuuuurve!!!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Have you heard of "Pasifika"?

The Pasifika Festival is in its 15 year in Auckland (New Zealand). The festival is the largest free community event of its kind in the world and is held annually in Auckland, home to the world's largest Pacific island population.

Pasifika is segmented into 10 Pacific Island villages as well as several themed areas targeting different musical and cultural tastes from the traditional to the contemporary. The 10 Pacific island villages each offer an insight to their cultural practices and ceremonies, traditional food, arts and crafts, music and performance from Fiji and Kiribati in Malaynesia to Tonga and Western Samoa in central Polynesia to the Cook Islands and Tahiti in Eastern Polynesia to Aotearoa (New Zealand) in the south. Activities will include flax weaving, lei making, firedancing and traditional cooking demonstrations.

This is "experiential marketing" at its best. You get to experience and interact in every Pacific Island village the sights, sounds, tastes, textures and smells of that particular country. I have personally attended nearly every single one of the Pasifika events over the past 15 years and every year if you could believe this gets better even with the 100,000 plus people!!!!

I use to love Pasifika when it first started because the entertainment and the Pacific cuisine was just plain yummy!!! but then it started to become "mainstream", the word had got out and the numbers began to swell. That's when I started to only "like" Pasifika because of the poor logistical planning to cope with the crowd numbers. There weren't enough toilets, the queues to cross into villages were too long, parking was a headache, and access to Pasifika was a mission. However, the organisers started to learn and implement a lot of the feedback from the public to address the shortcomings of the previous year's event. Pasifika is now where it should be: THE Premier Pacific Island Event in the World!!!

Here are a couple ideas to improve Pasifika:

  • do an audit of the most successful stores in each village and allow them to come back the next year.
    • since demand for store space is limited, only the successful businesses should be allowed back in as the comparably unsuccessful businesses are only taking up space.
    • allow the most popular stores to have a presence in more than one area of Pasifika.
  • ALL villages should have a stage
    • I noticed that the Tongan village didn't have a stage and people at the back couldn't see the performances at the front.
  • there should be maps on the walking routes to show where each village is.
    • yes there were pamphlets available with the positioning of the villages but that is no good if you couldn't see or find the information tent when you walk in.
Here are a couple ideas to improve the marketing of Pasifika:
  • Pasifika should be marketed internationally through each Pacific Island's visitors bureau or tourism office
    • they should be integrated in their efforts to ensure that the BEST of each country is well represented, after all, Pasifika is a showcase of each Pacific Island nation.
    • each tourism office could have a store that has the best products from their country (eg. organic produce/products, traditional medicines, tourism events)
  • the lead up to Pasifika needs to be managed properly.
    • I didnt hear or see anything about Pasifika until the week of the festival.
      • I want to know at least a month out of when the festival is for planning purposes.
      • For parents this would be useful as they would be able to organise a babysitter if need be. For businesses, owners are able to organise staff.
  • a social networking site should be set up for Pasifika for people to leave their feedback to improve the event for the following year
  • the organisers of the event should promote healthy living and not allow brands/firms that produce fatty foods/drink to advertise or have a presence at Pasifika (eg. corned beef and soft drink).
    • be more proactive
    • be firm
    • find alternative sponsors that will contribute monies to have the festival (eg. replace the corned beef company with a large water company).
  • create more 'buzz' to attract more non-Pacific Island people to the event.
    • have some traditional dancers walking around the central city.
    • develop a text message viral campaign a week out from the event

You got the luuuuuurve!!!

Sunday, March 4, 2007

iBoard #1: 8 Reasons Why Businesses Should Target Women

1. Women appreciate businesses that take care of their needs
i. If a woman has child(ren), put things in place to make her feel free to shop (eg: Playcentre, a storyteller, TV showing a movie, Video games, Face painting, Clowns)

2. Ensure that SAFETY and SECURITY is first and foremost when planning such activities.
i. Would you leave your children in the care of someone if you didn’t feel your children were safe and secure? Think like a responsible parent ;-)

3. Women are usually the final decision maker when it comes to shopping decisions

4. Women are more likely than men to talk about their experiences
i. Ask for their feedback
ii. Leverage the power of Word of mouth
iv. Thank her for her time and invaluable feedback
v. Apply and test out her GREAT suggestions and monitor to see if her feedback works

5. Make HER feel good about her shopping experience

i. If she is a mother or is in the care of children, she is on a tight schedule.
ii. Process her as quickly as you can. If you do, she will likely return.

7. Make her FEEL comfortable

8. It’s all about HER emotional connection to the product/service

9. Women respond well to ads that are about affinity, relationships and associations

10. Have information at the stands for customers to read how to use a product, how to cook a new dish or tips on how to save power.
i. Think of complementary products
ii. Think 'out of the box'
iii. Think how your products/services make her FEEL
iv. Reduce the risk of her purchase by letting her feel the product, see how it can be used, see how it can save her time, see how it can make her home look good, see how it can make her look good and feel good.

11. Finally, smile, say hello, say goodbye and say "see you next time".

Woops, I got carried away with the extra ideas ;-)

You got the luuuuuurve!!!

Definition of an "iBOARD"

An "iBOARD" is short for an IDEABOARD. It is like a billboard that you would see on the side of the road, a building, a bus stop. Basically any surface that can display a message.

An iBoard will display tips, quotes, a profound and/or provoking thought, a random comment, a link or 3, or a recommendation.

I like Albertsons and Foodland but I LOVE........

IDEA #4 is any large supermarket in the world.

In his book "Lovemarks", Kevin Roberts makes a reference to how supermarkets in general can improve their layout and feel. Kevin talks highly about Big Fresh (NZ) being "ahead of its time" compared to large Foodstores like Foodtown/Woolworths (NZ), Coles (Australia), Albertsons (USA), or Tescos (UK).

Although "Big Fresh" had closed its doors in 2003, it was the first time in New Zealand that a large supermarket had provided entertainment for the family, it had organised its consumer shopping experience in a fashion that was similar to rides at an amusement park, and it targeted a lower-end of the market with "No Frills" products. No Frills started with a handful of products and grew to more than 800 products in packaged groceries and perishables (Source: Wikipedia).

Here are a couple ideas to enhance the branding of all the supermarkets mentioned above:

  • improve the design of the store layout
    • Don't leave the design of the layout up to chance. Plan on guiding the customers through the maze of products.
    • the position and placement of the racks will affect the sales of products.
    • allow space for the customer to 'breathe' as they walk into the store. This will allow the customer to take everything in first and feel welcomed into the store.
    • like pay per click, stores could effectively get the product manufacturers to 'bid' for this space at the entrance of the store.
    • the products that are staple shopping items should be placed towards the far corners of the store so that customers have to go past everything else.
      • you have to entice impulse buying.
  • Improve and differentiate the lighting in supermarkets.
    • The lighting needs to accentuate the product.
  • I agree here with Kevin Roberts, supermarkets should place goods together that make up a dish.
    • For example, if you want to cook an spaghetti bolognese, supermarkets should position these at the end of an aisle where people can pick up all the ingredients together (ie. sauces, pasta and cheese) as well as other recipes.
    • Let's take it another step further. Why don't supermarkets separate and place all the gluten-free products together and organic wholefoods products together.
  • Through their websites and loyalty card programmes, supermarkets would be able to identify who has email and who doesn't.
    • Supermarkets should email people the next weeks specials (in HTML) and slowly eliminate the number of circulars.
      • supermarkets could email recipes, tips for house cleaning, or new health tips.
    • Supermarkets could through a database management system identify who has a mobile phone. Specials could also be texted (or sms) the next week's specials.
  • Instead of using discount vouchers on the back of shopping receipts, supermarkets should send out text messages as proof of purchase. Why? who ever uses those shopping receipts? If supermarkets are genuine in passing on savings, then make it easier for people to experience the savings.
    • all people need is a number to ring on the shopping receipt and a code to retrieve the future discount which can be shown at a restaurant, a cinema or whoever the client may be via their mobile phone.
  • Encourage the use of recyclable 'green bags' for shopping. Bags that can be used again and again and again.
  • Supermarkets should partner up with 'best of class' or lovemarks companies for them to sell their goods in their store.
    • Have you ever had a cheesecake from the Cheesecake Shop (New Zealand)? All I have to say is that is YUUUUUUMY!!!
    • Why not allow the Cheesecake Shop to have a presence inside the supermarket?
      • they would provide all the best cheesecakes and assorted cakes for you.
    • StarBucks Coffee Company has a presence inside Wholefoods Market

My Love Marks: Wholefoods Market (USA), Pak&Save (NZ) and the old Big Fresh (NZ).

You got the luuuuuurve!!!

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Do you LOVE Virgin airlines? I don't. Just like.

Today's airline pick is Virgin Airlines more specifically Virgin Atlantic.

Last year when I travelled on Virgin Airlines, I had heard of only good things. UNTIL I actually flew Virgin. One lesson that keeps recurring is that like any business, the secret ingredient is to underdeliver in promise and overdeliver in service. Virgin may be the airline for the people with its cheap'ish fares but does the service need to be perceived so? However, the issue is how do you manage the negative experiences? basically how do you accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative?

Here are a couple ideas to enhance its brand appeal:

  • Initiate a "mystery shopper programme" to assess the quality of service (if Virgin Atlantic hasn't already).
    • All service-related businesses need to do this as a part of their service audit to ensure their high standards are maintained.
  • The service levels of Pacific Blue are much better than Virgin Atlantic. Consistency in service delivery is difficult to maintain across a large company especially one that spans the globe but the difference in service shouldn't be compared as good or bad. As a high service company, the difference in customer experience should ONLY be good or excellent.
    • Virgin Atlantic is renowned for their Upper Class services. Why not raise the bar again to "Elite Class"? Upscale the upper class services, form partnerships with the premier luxury labels of this world.
    • Why not create an entire new airline that caters solely to the "elite" or business class traveller? like Eos' or MAXJet.
  • I applied for their air miles program and one year on still haven't received word from them. Not even by email.
    • It's important for ANY company to communicate with their customers.
    • Email me or text me and close the loop in the communication so I know you got it.
  • If your staff arrive to work grumpy, give them the option to go home. A bad day is a bad day. Everybody has them. Tomorrow is usually better. Use the 'standby's.
    • Smiling is soooooo underrated in some businesses. Smiling is infectious. In fact, smiling should be a prerequisite for working in a job. If people don't smile, it can infer that you are unhappy which rubs off on the product or service you are trying to sell.
  • Improve the quality of food. It doesn't have to be expensive but hire England's favourite son, Jamie Oliver, to write up the fresh new tasty meal plan. Jamie Oliver can work within a budget as shown with his schools programme.
  • Virgin Atlantic has a great website and reach in its marketing campaigns (thanks to Sir Richard "Virgin"Branson).
Outside of what I've mentioned, I like Virgin Atlantic but I don't love it.

My Love Marks:

Southwest Airlines,

Emirates Airlines,

Singapore Airlines

You got the luuuuuurve!!!

Do you like H2GO? PUMP? Fiji Water? or Evian?

Now a lot of people out there would think that water is just water. Guess what? It is BUT it depends where its from, how it's sourced, how pure it is, and/or what kind of design the bottle has. The question is, which one of these do you value?

Today's pick of the day is H2GO Water by Danone (France). Outside of the massive distribution system that H2Go (via Danone) has in New Zealand, the marketing budget to push the message, and the salesforce to supply its retailers, H2GO lacks a few things for me to love about it. I like it but I don't love it.

I do realise that Evian is its top-of-the-line brand, however, I think that H2GO could be rebranded and reshaped to market internationally.

Here are a couple ideas to enhance its brand appeal:

Fiji Water has appeal because of its story. It promotes its remoteness as an advantage. It promotes its perceived levels of purity. Similar to Fiji water is 420 Spring Water (New Zealand) These people just get it.

"Far from pollution. Far from acid rain. Far from industrial waste.

There's no question about it: Fiji is far away. But when it comes to drinking water, "remote" happens to be very, very good...." Fiji Water

  • Improve the bottle design as it looks too much like PUMP from Coca-Cola Amatil.
  • With the new design, advertise it like crazy. Create a buzz. Identify the target market who will shape your markets.
  • "Product place" it in different mediums that reach your target market.
  • Put some aside and give it away for FREE to your target market.
  • Adopt a bus campaign. Select a number of buses that go out to all the corners of a city, and advertise on them.
  • Add another 50cents to it. Why? like a house, when you renovate, its value goes up. Perception is everything. Or keep the price the same and add perceived value through the new design.
  • Move it. Talk about it. Drink it.
  • H2GO could be even be 'downscaled', 'downbranded' even further to be called "TAPWATER NZ". This may sound funny to some but I actually think that NZ tapwater is the BEST in the world!!! ...and sell it cheaper.
  • Or calling it "DRINK". Everyone needs to drink, right?
  • Use plastic for the lower priced water and glass for the higher priced water. The difference between plastic and glass is 'galactic'.
My Love Marks:

420 Spring Water (New Zealand)

Voss water (Norway)

You got the luuuuuurve!!!

Have you heard of the 3 D's.....DESIGN, DesigN, design?

Design is one of the most important aspects in marketing. Design is EVERYWHERE in our lives from nature to products/services to processes. It is integral to how your customers perceive your company, it is integral to how they TALK about your company to their friends, their families, their colleagues and even in small talk. EVERYTHING should start with design right from the outset in the processes you use to the product/service you want to market, if it doesn't, you will fall behind the businesses that do. Design can affect you emotionally, spiritually, and physically. Design can stand the test of time or be a drop in the ocean of time. Design is the structure, the form and the flavour.

"Form follows function – that has been misunderstood. Form and function should be one, joined in a spiritual union.” Frank Lloyd Wright

Have you ever had a conversation about the iPod? a website? a YouTube video? the food in a restaurant? the customer services of an airline? a hotel you've stayed in? your computer? the
clothes you wear? the shoes you wear? what about the water you drink? It is a good chance that companies that think about 'design', want you to buy into their design(s) and talk about their design(s).

You got the luuuuuurve!!!

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Welcome, Malo e lelei, Namaste, Nî hâo, Hola, Hej, Bonjour,

QUESTION: How much is an IDEA worth to you?

Dr Edwards De Bono once said, “Ideas have the currency of success. They separate you from your competition”.

Welcome to the “IDEAS BUS”, an INTEGRATED IDEAS MARKETING BLOG where businesses, concepts, and ideas are reviewed with a view to showing them some 'luuuuuurve' as inspired by Kevin Roberts (Saatchi & Saatchi worldwide CEO) in his book "Lovemarks".

This is a blog where you can jump on and jump off whenever you want, just like a bus in the Pacific Islands. All I ask is that you 'mind the gap', there may be times when I don't blog due to some unforeseen reason.

I will propose some fresh, some old, some rehashed, some mashed marketing ideas for all to critique, and for all to enrich through your comments. Let's infuse the LOVE.

Subscribe to my blog, add me to your RSS feed, watch my updates on your personalised pages to stay abreast of the old, the new and the cutting-edge getting their businesses getting some "luuuuuuurve".

Every post will end with what I love or what my friends/family love. In Kevin Roberts words, these will be my "Lovemarks".

Lovemarks = These are the products/services that have got a lot of love. I like a lot of things but I love even fewer. The difference can be subtle, the difference can be galactic even though the substance (product or service) is at its simplest, the same.

You got "luuuuurve" (or "love" if said correctly) is a colloquial term which refers to a make-over, a fresh perspective, a new look, a new feel, an added zest, an enrichment, an infusion to spread the love.....basically positive feedback ;-)

You got the luuuuuurve!!!

Welcome aboard the IDEAS BUS.