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An exotic threesome – East End kiwi, an incredible view and using bloggers to market brands

I was recently on a plane to Madrid to brief the EMEA infrastructure leadership team on our branding programme. Sat behind me was a rough cockney barrow boy harping on about his fruit supply business. I looked set to spend 20 tense minutes waiting to be able to get my headphones on and block him out. Just as I was about to press play he delivered one of those truisms of business that you treasure for years. After waxing lyrical about how good his kiwis were he said, “I don’t buy fruit to have it in my warehouse looking pretty. I buy fruit to sell fruit.” Pure genius.

We need to take a leaf, this one, out of his book. My team and I don’t develop services so that we can feel smug about the fact we have them, we develop services to sell them. I could have all the world’s best thinkers in something like, say, Multivariate testing but if no one buys the service, what’s the point?

That’s why I am delighted with the interactive team this week. David Ellis and Zia Zareem-Slade took up my challenge (and a fair few quid) to take the theme of the recent The Fantastic Tavern, optimization, and extend the conversation in private with a few select individuals over dinner. In fact, that suggestion and invite was on my last blog. What I didn’t make clear (intentionally) was that it was at the Gherkin in London, on the 40th floor in a private dinning room.

The building is spectacular and the view in the dinning room a real treat. Similarly the food, service and wine are of the highest standards (note to self, accept invites from creative directors and founders of TFT in future!). Virgin Media and B&Q were invited again to help answer the deeper questions around MVT, with clear input from DE and ZZS. What actually happened was. Jo from B&Q fell sick - a shame she wasn’t there because the work she is doing pays great testament to the value that this practice can generate – even in the short term. I hope she’s feeling better soon. Matt from VM battled on and I want to thank him again for helping The Fantastic Tavern – he‘s a number one Tavernier!

I actually left the event before the amazing food arrived so that I could attend the Computer Weekly IT Blog Awards. However, what ensued was a very deep and lengthy discussion between six well known brand and EMC Consulting’s interactive figureheads. No, I won’t name the brands or revel the topics of conversation. It was private dinning and a warts and all shared experience.

What I can say is this. We learn so much by running this type of event too. Yes, we want to sell but more important than that we actually hear what clients want to buy. By hearing that and interpreting it into simple offerings, we can both do better business. After all selling is about finding someone who wants to buy and having what they want. Adapting and honing our services should hopefully mean we don’t have warehouses full services no one wants or understands.

I will continue to develop The Fantastic Tavern next year. We will have a website (I hear they are useful) and I will optimize it so that it best serves Taverniers. After all, we should be eating our own dog food. I really look forward to running the next event in January/February. I will certainly be opening up the themes to a wider creative community. For example, if you are interested in front-end development. coding standards and accessibility, watch this space. However, we will kick off the year with “All I got for Christmas was this stupid iphone app.” – do apps make sound business sense?

And so to an awards ceremony. I have been to lots (I think, never can remember them afterwards), I’ve won at some (nice) and I have run one, BIMA 2007 -2008. This time I went to Computing Weekly IT Blog Awards 2009, held at Shoreditch house. I was there to support Michelle Flynn who writes Flynny’s blog and was up for Best IT Professional Female and also collect the Large Enterprise Corporate blog Award were EMC Consulting to win. What I remember was that to rapturous applause (thanks James W), Michelle won! How was she selected? By votes cast for her online at the Computing Weekly website. Who vote for her? Everyone she knows. On twitter. On Facebook. On LinkedIn etc etc. A masterclass in marketing. Thousands of people related to the computing business hitting a site because Flynny asked them to and they all did it. For Flynny, she capitalized on all the effort to grow her communities and networks to build a groundswell of support. A win win. Literally. Well done to Computer Week. Nice format, nice and quick, lots of booze, no silly tables or black ties. And to Michelle. Just goes to once again show the power of social media.

There. My take out of the week? You should never stop learning.

 

Published Friday, November 27, 2009 1:58 PM by matthew.bagwell

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