Archive for January, 2011

Selling strategies.

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

Just as advertising uses a range of techniques to sell a product or a brand, so do the hawkers of Vietnam.

One cyclo driver had a little book of testimonials from previous customers.

The problem with this was that, unfortunately, he didn’t understand a lot of what had been written.

Some of it wasn’t all that complimentary.

A lot of retail advertising uses the ‘Pester Technique’, a really crap ad shown over and over again.

A similar approach is also used by cyclo drivers. They will follow you for blocks, imploring you to use their services.

And just like bad retail, the only way they can get you to buy is by dropping the price.

Guilt is also used to good effect.

There are always ‘Buying Opportunities’ right across Vietnam, incorporating clean rest rooms, that are conveniently placed along the tourist routes.

If they think you are American, you will be told that some of the crafts people are handicapped.

A direct cause of Agent Orange, of course.

This is known as ‘Good Cause’ shopping.

The one strategy that worked on me was used by the villagers in the mountain region near Sapa.

As soon as you jump off the bus they were there by your side, involving you in dialogue.

Yes, they were there to sell you something, an embroidered bag or handcrafted silver trinkets.

However it was the way they got you into conversation, by asking your name, your age, how many kids you have.

It was that personal engagement that finally won me over.

It’s a strategy that a lot of marketers could learn from.

Alphabattle ‘X’

Thursday, January 20th, 2011

The letter ‘X’ is now up on Alphabattle.

Corporate Identity.

Thursday, January 20th, 2011

Identity systems work best when they are simple, adaptable and consistent.

When an identity is applied to a country then simplicity is a key factor in keeping the look consistent.

When applied to a developing country like Vietnam then simplicity is imperative.

There are no corporate ID manuals or style guides, no downloadable media with the logo and font, conveniently provided in Illustrator.

It’s not surprising therefore, that the flag is the purest expression of the logo.

Designed in 1940, it’s a big yellow star on a bright red background.

Even the typography found on posters and propaganda is simple, yellow sans serif caps, reversed out of the same vibrant red background.

Steeped in the history of the Vietnamese Socialist party and with obvious links to the hammer and sickle of the old Soviet flag, you see it wherever you go.

Like all good symbols, there is meaning and a touch of urban myth in the design.

The red symbolizes blood and revolution, while the yellow the colour of the mother’s skin.

The five pointed star represents the unity between workers, peasants, intellectuals, traders and soldiers.

Most homes along village streets proudly display at least one flag and there are banners every few meters on the highways and in the city streets.

What makes this such a successful identity is the fact that it is in total synergy with the people’s cultural use of red.

As they prepare for Tet, there are red lanterns, balloons, banners and even red and yellow flowers everywhere.

Red lacquered woodwork, with yellow Chinese characters, are a feature of the temples and pagodas.

All this helps the symbol of Vietnam to seamlessly fit into the landscape.

With much of the country shrouded in mist during our stay, the corporate identity was so adaptable, it was even in harmony with the weather.

Selling an idea.

Saturday, January 15th, 2011

That’s what we do in advertising, sell stuff and anyone who thinks differently is kidding themselves.

Selling a doctrine isn’t any different.

If you are a student of communist era posters you will have admired the graphics and chuckled at the simplistic and naive headlines.

This is communist propaganda and shouldn’t be compared to clever marketing spin.

I have just spent 3 hours wandering through the War Remnants Museum in Saigon.

Most of the descriptions on the exhibits fall into the area of jargon. For example the Australian forces were described as: “The mercenary forces of the American puppets.”

It was the final exhibition that demonstrated how sophisticated their selling has become.

This exhibit compared war efforts, in WW1, WW2 and Korea, of the elite US regiments, with their achievements, or lack of, in the Vietnam conflict.

Their atrocities were also highlighted, like the massacre at My Lai, as well as the date they were prematurely pulled out of the conflict.

In all instances these forces were shown to be left wanting.

They lost more men and had fewer victories than those who went before them.

This was sophisticated spin and confined all the party jargon to the dark ages.

As our guide Frong said, there are two sides to every story and here you are getting our side.

In my opinion this chapter in history was sold particularly well.

Comment spam.

Wednesday, January 5th, 2011

When you start a blog you wonder if anyone out there in cyber space is reading it.

Then something strange happens, you start to get comments.

If you’re like me, you eagerly look to see what they are saying.
Are they bagging your opinion or praising it?

Then your ego takes over.

Following are a few of the comments I received. Some were written by people who obviously had English as a second language but that didn’t deter me, they were positive comments.

Ronna Vaughen.
“You certainly deserve a round of applause for your post and more specifically, your blog in general. Very high quality material.”

Grow Tallereasy.
“Hi my friends! I would like to say that this article is really awesome, very well written and have almost all needed info. I’d like to see more posts like this :)”

“Wonderful entry, until it was pleasant to see him. Already I threw myself your blog to bookmarks in my web browser.”

“Hi there, just wanted to show my appreciation for your time and hard work.”

I am now feeling really good about myself. There are people out there who actually like what I am saying.

But what sort of a person would use the name ‘Sex’?

Then I got this one and started to wonder.

“I’m 21 but can only develop thin blond facial hair. How long till I can grow thick dark hair? I realize everyone grows at distinct charges and occasions in their lives but what about individuals in a comparable situation to what I have described?”

Is this some obscure reference to my moustache?

At this point I spoke to Hayden, who knows about all things internet.

I think his explanation went something like:

“I’m sorry to tell you but they’re all spam.
Their comments are general and don’t actually refer specifically to your post, they could be about any post. They are just playing to your ego.”

He went on to tell me that it’s known as “Comment Spam” which is a guerrilla marketing technique, usually promoting dodgy products such as copy-watches, porn and Viagra.

They’re probably using a program that’s searching WordPress blogs and then submitting comment automatically to those sites.

The link on their user name goes to a web site and the more incoming links from different sites gives them a higher google ranking.

For instance, ‘exam training’ would link to a web site about training.

However it isn’t of much use to you, as you are linking to sites with a lower ranking and that will in turn lower your ranking.

Here are a few more, unedited, comments for your entertainment.

Some of the names are rather creative as well.

cope with break up songs ladies.
“I’m curious if it’s okay to borrow part of this publication to use for my research project.”

rock songs get over sad.
“My husband and I genuinely loved learning about on this publication, I was just eager to know if you barter featured posts? I am always attempting to find site owners to make deals with but it’s only a point of view I would call for.”

80 tals kläder.
“Very interesting and useful information, thanks!”

Chanda Carthew.
“When i visit a blog, chances are that i get disappointed. On the contrary,I could honestly say that you writting is decent and your website solid.”

Fettverbrennung. (Again)
“How to make thin hair grow quick and lengthy? I have supper thin hair and it grows truly sluggish how can I make develop faster and longer in the least expensive way?”

get over your ex husband.
“I’m just wondering if it’s okey to borrow some piece of this publication to use for my research project.”

Haven’t I seen this comment before?

I have just received this one. I think it’s time to get some anti spam software.

penis enlargement.
“lol, nice article friend!. I was reminded of my friends about it, maybe I’ll tell her this blog, and some other friends.”

Alphabattle ‘W’

Tuesday, January 4th, 2011

The letter ‘W’ is now up on Alphabattle.