THE Creativity Chronicles
Client: “I’m thinking we could write a bit about why to visit us, take a look at the local area, nice days out, great location, good for work… good for leisure…”
Me (internally): I would rather gauge my own eyes out with the pencil I’m holding.
I can’t even bring myself to write down her comments. It’s not her fault. Like every hotel marketing manager I’ve ever worked with they just find themselves following the same crappy formula every time.
Blah blah location, blah blah local attractions, blah blah rosette, blah blah luxury, blah blah indulge, enjoy… yawn.
I long to see a hotel home page that says:
We are an average hotel. Nothing fancy, nothing formal. Just a room with a bed and a great shower and a hot breakfast. We’re probably not the best place to bring your lover but if you’re on business looking for convenience and a corporate-friendly price tag, we’ve got a room (coo coo ca choo)
Yes I know, your eyes would fall out of your head but you would read it and most likely remember it. You would probably forward it to a friend and if you were the target market you may even stay there – after all, do you care about an in-room Indian Head Massage or a Rosette worthy prawn? Hell no, WiFi, free parking and a dirty burger are the order of the day.
Nobody wants to hear about the nearby attraction with the longest zip wire in Britain, trust me. And stop telling me how convenient, luxurious, relaxing and affordable you are.
Tell me something different, please.
As I look over at her enthusiastic fresh face, that I’ve-read-the-latest-copy-of-The-Caterer-and-I’m-ready-for-business face I feel my annoyance subside. How is she supposed to know better?
Years and years in the incestuous hotel marketing trade where people move from hotel to hotel and just regurgitate the stuff they did in the last place they worked. Never truly discovering (and certainly not defining) the brand that they are now representing.
I have two choices – I harp on about local attractions and the capacity of their event suites (and walk away with a happy client and the money in my pocket) or I do things my way – I give them the voice they deserve, the one they have been waiting a decade for (and I should know, I was working in hotel marketing myself back then) and I risk pissing off the client and walking out poor.
There was a time (many moons ago) when I would have kept the peace, played it safe, kept the client happy as my only priority but I’ve learned over the years that sometimes the client is simply clueless. They don’t really know what they want and they certainly don’t know what they need. The days of pleasing, placating and producing average work because it’s what the client wanted are over. These days I know I’m there to create incredible content, not to make friends.
I have the richest thing of all… my reputation. And my reputation is for telling the truth, defining their distinct difference and doing it the feral way, not the weak watered down (albeit easier) version. So I guess it’s time to break it to her, that I’m not going to be writing about that zip wire anytime soon. After all, for our partnership to work there has to be trust and there has to be truth. Without these the work will just be average. And average is not in my vocabulary. It’s easy to be tempted, sometimes you get your head turned but choose your morals and your meaning over the money every time and you’ll have the most precious quality of all…. integrity. That is where the magic lies. #allyouvegottobeistrue