Monthly Archives: September 2014

Cool Ideas in Place Branding and Place Marketing

The Ice Hotel

The Ice Hotel

Getting people to visit a destination that lies above the Arctic Circle in the middle of winter and then pay a premium price for the privilege has to be seen as a truly great marketing achievement. But that’s exactly what The Ice Hotel in northern Sweden has achieved. In 1992 an ice seminar was organised by Yngve Bergqvist, who was looking at ways to improve tourism in his home town of Jukkasjärvi, which lies around 17 kilometers from Kiruna in northern Sweden. An igloo of some 60 m2 containing ice sculptures was built to house the event. Unfortunately accommodation at the hotel Yngve managed had run out and so some hardy individuals agreed to spend the night in the igloo. They slept on top of reindeer skins in sleeping bags and the next morning, by way of compensation I should imagine, were given certificates to prove they had done so.
Twenty years later the Ice Hotel brand has spread and now there are ice hotels in sev- eral countries as well as a successful Ice Bar franchise with Absolut Vodka. The hotel in Sweden is constructed every December and lasts through to the following April, when it melts. Each Spring, around March, 10,000 tons of ice are cut from the frozen Torne river to store for building the following winter’s hotel as well as for creating the unique products that the hotel markets, such as glasses and sculptures made of ice.
Whenever people or organisations com- plain about the difficulties they face in attract- ing people to their particular destination, I like to use the Ice Hotel as an example. Despite severe difficulties, any place, given enough focus on what they have that is truly special and some creative thinking, can succeed. Few Place Marketing stories can be as inspirational as the one concerning The Ice Hotel in northern Sweden.  
LuLeå university; Great Ideas Grow Better Below Zero.  images
Similarly Luleå University, which is around 350 kilometers south of the Ice Hotel, has also used their seemingly remote and frozen geographic location to stand out from the crowd. The university has created some impressive marketing ideas and used them to great effect.   Cover - Wish you Were here   To get a free chapter of WISH YOU WERE HERE click this link:  

Attending INBOUND 14 in Boston

Promises to be a good week if you are interested in Content and Inbound with HubSpot hosting INBOUND 14 in Boston. Lots of interesting topics and keynotes including Simon Sinek, Guy Kawasaki and Martha Stewart. Entertainment provided Wednesday night by Janelle Monae. Should be a fun and interesting week. Inbound

Scotland The Brave & Little Britain

Why I hope the the Scots vote aye next Thursday for an independent Scotland

Scotland flag

The Scots go to the polls next Thursday September 18th to decide whether or not they should break free as an independent country. It seems to be only just dawning on the governing Westminster elite in London that they might actually decide to leave. The  political establishment are now in panic, even rolling out some of the old guard politicians to persuade the Scottish voters to stay with the union. Senior civil service officials admit they have no plan of action should Scotland decide to go it alone. It appears they never took the Scottish referendum seriously and that this is for real.

In looking at the arguments of both camps, and having spent a few hours talking with a friend who is staunchly in favour of independence, I’ve come to a decision I didn’t thick I would. I’m with the yes camp (yes for independence).

I’m almost shocked myself at my own decision, but there’s three things that have struck me particularly in the debate that have helped my reasoning.

Firstly, the no camp are trying it on with the worst scare tactics going. They are claiming Scotland will face a stark future if they decide to go it alone. They’ll be a currency crisis, the economy will collapse. Education and the health service would suffer. As one person kindly pointed out on one of my other blog sites, fifty years ago this month Malta took the decision to go it alone, and become independent, despite similar predictions of doom and gloom. So Scotland’s not too small. I happen to live in Sweden, one of the smaller European countries, which does pretty well, as do our neighbours Norway and Denmark.

Secondly, the ‘Yes’ camp are keen Europeans, unlike their neighbours further south. If I ever returned to live in blighty (as we Brits fondly refer to the British Isles), I’d really struggle with this issue – in fact even more than the rubbish plumbing. I’m British, and proud of it, but I’m also a European and very proud of that too. Shock horror I’m even a fan of the Euro. It allows me to travel across Europe (most of it) without having to pay some bank to change my currency each time I cross a border and I can easily compare prices across European borders as they (mostly) have the same currency. I actually hope Scotland ditches the pound if they win, and adopts the euro.

Thirdly, and the most important reason for me personally, I think Britain (and when I say Britain, I mean England and when I say England that actually means just London) needs a damn good shake up. Britain is still in a hang-over from its empire days and still uses its colonial past as its normal reference point when considering the rest of the world and its relationship to it. In fact Britain has one almighty identity crisis. For the average Brit, Europe is another place. I’m not really sure what the plan is if the UK ever decided to leave Europe, which might just happen with political parties like UKIP snapping at the heels of the conservatives over the EU and pushing to withdraw. Maybe Britain intends to become the 51st State of the US (or Airstrip One). I fear for Britain greatly unless it moves on and defines a new future and lets go of the past.

As part of redefining itself, more power should be devolved across the UK. Cities like Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle and Cardiff should become new powerhouses of commerce. Infrastructure needs to be modernised to ease travel and communications and a whole host of strategic changes made to Britain’s game plan to face a new future.

If the Scots do vote yes then expect some major implications. Who would be next? Wales, Northern Ireland? Yorkshire?

If the Scots do vote yes next Thursday it will be a case of Scotland the brave and potentially the start of Little Britain.

Join my City Brands group on Linked In.

Do read Jamie Jaunceys excellent blog A Few Kind Words on the referendum issue.

Inbound. Digital Week in Boston

Looking forward to visiting INBOUND, the HubSpot event, in Boston next week with a  group of UP colleagues. I’m then heading over to a Life Science meeting south of the city where I’m speaking on Thursday on the impact of digital on brands. The title for the speech: Is #Branding Still Relevant in a #Digital World? Good topic. 1395332_10152016114204974_347809778_n