Archive | May, 2014

No barriers

31 May

I was recently on a train back to Amsterdam with a colleague from North America. When we approached the western provinces, Utrecht and North Holland – the ones that are under sea level – I pointed out to her the green fields with livestock in them and said what don’t you see?

See those fields and most of the land in the provinces under the sea is reclaimed. They have drainage ditches around them to keep the water levels down, basically off the fields. Great things these ditches, full of water for the previously mentioned livestock and can serve as irrigation ditches if it ever doesn’t rain here.

But they also serve as natural barriers. The Dutch don’t need to fence their fields, they typically have one fence at the bridging dyke but that’s it.

That means that you have open vistas of green fields with cows, sheep, horses etc. grazing. That means that animals don’t get caught on barbed wire, it means that farmers don’t have to spend a fortune keeping fences maintained and that psychologically people in this part of the country don’t grow up surrounded by fences.

Granted most of North and South Holland could fit into Montana’s back pocket, and there are fences around houses (to keep said cows out of your garden flowers) but I think it is typical of the Dutch, using natural means to be efficient and economical and keeping a great vista.

Self-serving

8 May

I suddenly pondered on the cult of self we are cultivating this century. Between Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and the rest we talk about ourselves to our (insert air quotes here) friends and general public a lot. We actually have to remind ourselves to be polite to each other and thank people for their help. When does self-promotion become overbearing? What is the dividing line between self-marketing and self-serving?

 

When Positioning Statements, Actually Position …

4 May

Dutch saying “better well stolen than badly created” and as this sums up so many ongoing current thoughts I am sharing.

The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

If I see another that says something like, “Your _______, Our _______” or Your _______, Your _______, Your _______”, I will scream.

What those sorts of lines are really communicating is, “we will be anything you want us to be because we’re so desperate for your business, we don’t want to risk saying or doing anything you may find unappealing”.

To be honest, it’s the absolute opposite of positioning because anyone who comes into contact with it is left without any distinct impression of who you are, what you do or what you believe.

Of course the reality is they should be able to understand this by the product or service they execute rather than just the advertising they make, but you get the idea.

I’ve always loved positioning that leaves you in no uncertain terms what the brand is or does or believes.

If anything, they either polarise…

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