Monika’s Musings

miscellaneous tidbits on marketing, advertising, and life in general

Communicate with your audience


All the marketing gurus tell you it is really important to communicate with your clients/audience. The dialogue between a brand and it’s customers is not always an easy task, especially when huge companies with clients in the millions are concerned.

Last night, I witnessed a pretty good example. I went to a James Blunt concert without being a fan. Actually, I only knew two of the guy’s songs – and two others without realising they were his songs. And somehow I found myself standing, dancing and clapping the entire night.

A new brand introduced itself to me and did it quite vividly. A quick eye’s sweep could tell you that most of the people (except a tiny, but dedicated teenage crowd) had gone to the concert to simply check it out, without being fans. But James was great! He dived in the audience, ran around the entire place, high-fiving everyone who was within reach, talked in between songs and at the end he did something that really took me by surprise: he took out his camera and took a picture of us! Seemed to work for everyone – the crowd was ecstatic. Simple gesture, yet brilliant. I bet all of us can learn something from this young British dude, dressed in a suit and tie.

No, I am not going to run out and buy a CD. But I would definitely be more attentive next time his name comes up in the news. Well done, kid!

And today’s random fact: It is Brunei’s national holiday today. Cheers guys! (I know – and I bet so do you – at least 50 people wondering where do they send a CV to be the sultan of this fine country)

Great to be a bum in London


No free lunch. In London. For real.

In complete contrast to today’s earlier post – something interesting is happening in London during the entire month of February. Little Bay Restaurant is offering free lunch out of compassion for the people affected by the financial crisis (well, for that and other reasons).

Mr. Ilic, the restaurant’s owner, has declared that his customers can pay as much as they desire for their meal. In a TV interview Ilic says that so far this initiative has brought him more clients and more profit. With the exception of a couple who paid 2 pennies for two steaks, most of the clients actually leave more money than the price of the dishes would have been.

What Ilic is modestly omitting is the fact that this move brought him more free publicity than anyone could hope for. Interviews are shown on major TV channels, articles are written, links to featuring blog posts are being e-mailed all over the world.

Hats off, mister! We would never know if this was sheer goodness or a very well calculated PR strategy (somehow, I am inclined to believe the latter) but it scores high marks in my book for creativity.

Here it is, your random fact of the day:

On February 20th 1933, the US Congress declares the end of the Dry Regime. Cheers!

No price = No value


Sometimes life will throw one of it’s best lessons at you when you least expect them.

As most students do, I needed to find whatever little jobs were available to make some extra cash. After all, Paris had a lot to offer and a young Bulgarian student was desperate to make the most of her experience in this fantastic city.

I was really lucky to find a nice family with three boisterous boys that needed babysitting. They paid really well too, however, obviously there were more satisfying jobs. Lucky for me, I was offered one – an internship at Landor Paris (Landor is one of the leading design and brand management agencies in the world, part of WPP Group). I had in fact dedicated a lot of time in university to a paper on Landor and it was my dream job (still is, to be honest).

Telling the boys’ parents that I want to quit was one of the most difficult things I had to do – they were extremely nice and counted on me, since I had made a long-term commitment. However, being intelligent and good people, they were nothing but happy for me. The father, Mr. Loning sat me down for a quick talk – he was German and wanted to give me some advice on how to be a foreigner working in a French company.

He proceeded to tell me that when young people applied for jobs they though the employer had all the power and the upper hand in the conversation. Which, he said, is not true at all. It was really hard to find qualified, smart, educated people and - as one of those – I had to be incredibly confident. Then he asked me how much they were going to pay and nearly fainted when he heard the answer. It wasn’t remotely enough to pay rent, and my babysitting job paid three times more…

Mr. L: You’ve got to ask for more.

Me: But I can’t – those are the internship conditions…

Mr. L: Then ask for 2 days vacation.

Me: But I can’t – they don’t allow interns to have days off.

Mr. L: Child, you are giving your work for free. Never do that. What has no price has no value.

That was it, right there – one of my life’s best lessons. If you didn’t put a price on your work, on your qualities, no one will value them. The lesson came not from school (for which my parents paid a fortune), but from a nice guy whom I was abandoning with overnight notice…

I proceeded to negotiate 2 days off and started the most amazing job of my life. The internship long over (I couldn’t stay for a real job cause I had no working papers) I still believe that my place is at Landor. And one day I know I will return to this company.

But the thing I really will never forget is this conversation with Mr. Loning. And today, any chance I get, I give this advice to my friends who are feeling bad to ask for what they are worth from their future employers.

This is also true for pricing goods and services – never be afraid to put the right price on what you offer – and people will value it for what its worth. Provide customers with added value, but not with free things. Free might be good, but only short-term.

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