Friday, May 25, 2012

How to Invite a Blogger

This was not the first time I had received an invitation by a brand. 

 In fact, contrary to popular belief, many brands in Lebanon try to get bloggers to cooperate in their marketing efforts. Yet, the way they go about it is never the same. Here is why I often neglect invitations:
Chivas had the decency to drop this invitation in a private message to my blog's Facebook page.

'Dear bloggers, ...' No, we do not appreciate the idea that you think of us as a random blogger. There are thousands of those out there. A 'dear blogger' e-mail  directly qualifies as junk, as we do not feel personally concerned.
What Chivas did: a personal message with a personalized attached invitation, really, that's all it took.

Zoom-in to the invitation card

Here's why: it matters that the brand knows who you are and takes the time to get to read what you are all about. It makes us feel special. A little quote is all it took.
 Last minute call: It sends out the wrong message. Either I don't think you have anything else to do, or simply, I left you as a second option. In both cases, it's a no-no.

What Chivas did: A 10 days notice - just perfect. With a one week prior reservation request and a same day reminder. What this means to a blogger? 1 - I respect you. 2- I really want you to be there. i.e. you matter.
What's more? They were available to answer their phone, although I arrived late and was calling in the middle of the bloggers' meeting. They welcomed me at the door. They were friendly and courteous; simply chivalrous. 
On a personal note, I really appreciated that their CEO (Fawaz Holding) was present at the event. He was really down-to-earth, open-minded and showed interest in blogging and digital media; something really admirable for a Lebanese boss, if you ask me.

As for the event: we had a little tasting experience, some guess-work and left with an 18-year-old bottle of Chivas...


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Weddings in Lebanon: 5 Marketing Myths

Weddings in Lebanon are the place where a social need overcomes all economic sense. Here are 5 marketing myths, that are very sound theoretically, and yet, appear wacky when it comes to weddings in Lebanon (not that it is not the other way around!)

Marketing myth 1: 
If there is no purchasing power, there is no market
This statement really makes sense. Only, when it comes to weddings in Lebanon, the spending is always way over the normal threshold as compared to local GDP. You can even get bank loans for your wedding (and cry later).

Marketing myth 2: 
Market to the individual not the society
Yes, it also makes sense to target the individual directly. Only, in this specific case, it  is all the family of both parties that gets involved; not to mention their concern for public opinion.

Marketing myth 3: 
If it was less expensive, it would sell more
Yes, if you are selling juice, this might make sense. Only, when it comes to bridal dresses, you're very likely not to sell at all if you are too cheap. Like in all things, the perception of quality is closely related to the price. Thus, a premium pricing might be a better option when it comes to a wedding gown.

Marketing myth 4: 
You cannot price the same offering differently
A little odd concept in the wedding industry: When it comes to make-up and hair-do, you can easily pay 10 times the normal charge, if you happen to merely mention that you are the bride.
This makes no economic sense at all, but its the way things work in this part of the world.

Marketing myth 5: 
When the buyer and end-user is the same person, he is also the decision-maker
You would think that the couple planning their wedding will take their own decisions, given that they are the ones paying and using your services. Oddly, in this line of business, the real decision-maker is often a mother, a friend, or pretty much anyone whose opinion the couple values. 

This often leads to wrong advertising messages, where the advertiser would picture a happy couple and everlasting love. Is that really why they would choose you over your competitors? 

When Public Property Becomes Too Public

This could only be Lebanon. Where else would people so ingenuously disregard the line between public and private property?

Not only do they use the road signs to hang their logos, I am assuming they do it without requesting permission nor paying fees for this 'advertising medium'. Or at least I would like to think so. 

Had they actually been granted permission to do this I would be dazzled. I can already read the headline in my head 'public property legally abused'. (I admit, that would have been a more interesting title for this post.)

After all, it is as important for people to know how to reach their shop, as it is for them to reach Beirut, right?

(The end... Or at least this was supposed to be the end of this post; then, something fun happened.)

 That very same evening when I first wrote this post, I was passing by the same sign, only to find that it was replaced... 

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