Thursday, May 15, 2008

What are your destination’s “accidental” brands?

You don’t have to go to Jamaica to know that it has great beaches, rivers, waterfalls and flora. Then again, several Caribbean islands have those.
But, I don’t think anyone can leave Jamaica and not know what is unique and innate to Jamaica:

  • Blue Mountain Coffee
  • The Jamaican Bob Sled Team (with its own restaurant and merchandise at the airport)
  • The colors of the Jamaican Flag (used in every imaginable tourist-related product)
  • The colors of the Rastafarian movement (see above)
  • Braids
  • Jamaican Jerk
  • Chicken-every-imaginable-style
  • *Bob Marley*

What a great diversity: music, food, colors, entertainment, “boutique” java, sports and fashion.
And most sustainable and renewable.

Three Questions for you:

  1. What are your destination’s unique and innate accidental brands?
  2. How can they be exploited, preferably in a sustainable way?
  3. Is there something for every taste?

Why you should know the trends

Competition is tough. Those who survive and thrive are those who can come up with new product ideas, innovations, and effective strategies to get these to the customer… first (or almost first). Not any new product or customer care innovation or strategy. No, those ideas and innovations that appeal to your customer. And, alas, the speed of change in customer tastes and preferences. Generations amorph. Lifestyles change. Developments outside of your product category now influence yours like never before.

If you are in charge of innovation, customer care or strategy at your organization, how do you keep track? If you are on a small island, it’s a two-edged sword. What you see in the U.S. (or elsewhere) this year will be on your island at least a few months later. So, you have time to prepare. But, unless you spend enough time abroad and sit down to analyze what you see, you won’t know the trends.

That’s where a trend analyzer comes in handy. Michael Tchong of
Ubercool, “The most influential trendspotter in America”, according to the London Daily Telegraph, will be in Curacao to take us through his analysis of global trends this coming May 29th. He is hosted by the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International Curacao.

Mr. Tchong has spoken, among others, for Evian North America, Diageo, Euroforum in Rotterdam, several realtor associations in the U.S., Visa Europe in Istanbul, Luxury Home Marketing, Ubertrends in Colombia, several hospitality groups across the U.S. and at the Harvard Business Club.

He will take us on a whirlwind tour of the most telling trends and leaving you infused with new ideas that make sense. As a professional you cannot afford to not be aware of possible innovations (unless you can afford not to have a job). But, even if you are not specifically in charge of innovations, his presentation will leave you impressed and inspired.

Visit for more information and to register.

Ask for the business and make it personal

On a recent visit to Jamaica, the Jamaicans impressed me with the fact that every Jamaican asks for the business, consciously or subconsciously. Everybody asked: “When are you coming back?”

The most impressive of all was Keith, the driver on the airport shuttle. He welcomed us aboard with a nice, personal flight-attendant-like speech. The kill came as we arrived at the airport. He said, paraphrased:

“Did you enjoy your time in Jamaica? .... I hope you come back. And remember to tell your friends what a good time you had, so they will come too. It’s because people like you and your friends keep coming to Jamaica that people like me have a job. So, thank you for coming and have a safe flight home.”

Now, that hits home.