The instructions on the side of the box say: “Assembly in 15 minutes by one competent person”.  So how long will that take me then, I wonder?  As if to underline the whole competency issue, next to the text there is a graphic of one stick man holding a screwdriver next to an oval with a big “15 mins” in it. My mind is thinking back to school and to maths problems: If John has five apples and Sarah has four, how many pears does Mike have?”—type of thing.  So, if it takes 15 minutes for one competent person to put this garden bench together, how long would it take two incompetent people? Do you double the time of everything then add on an hour… I mean, is there a formula?


There Is No Formula…

It turns out doubling the time and adding on an hour was about right, though in the end I was working solo, so a poor reflection on my DIY capabilities. My Other Half—who has been busy on another project—consoles me pointing out that if I hadn’t put an early piece in the wrong way, I wouldn’t have had to take it all apart and then reassemble it. So really, I’ve done it in half the time—she says—just 45 minutes!  So, only three times longer than Mr Competent. I wonder what my graphic would look like? A crying stick man with a broken bench and an oval saying “All Day”?

I should have known it was going to be a difficult Bank Holiday when I found myself in the DIY store at 7.30am searching for an apparently rare type of nut/bolt when U2’s “Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” came over the P.A. of the DIY store. I like a company with a sense of humour, though. And no—I didn’t find what I was looking for, if you’re interested.

I have taken to turning to You Tube when life throws me a challenge that I am ill-equipped to deal with. My challenges are frequently though not exclusively DIY-related, as you may have gathered. It seems that there is no end of bedroom- dwelling, web-cammed American teenagers offering solutions from everything from great guitar riffs to getting by in German. I’m sure there’ll be one for brain surgery if I look hard enough. They all start with the teenager—usually called Josh, or Brad—saying “Hi—how y’all doing? Today we’re gonna learn how to [insert task: e.g. do brain surgery]… it’s real easy—we’ll have it done in just a few minutes!”

The whole DIY thing has been sort of forced on me against my natural abilities, because we run a small holiday let business in Tenby, West Wales, in the shape of an old Victorian cottage with a disproportionately large garden. There are always deadlines to meet so DIY is usually done against the clock in the remaining hours before the next guests arrive or the Tourist Board are turning up for an inspection. It could be a reality TV programme… Cock-ups Against the Clock?

The holiday let business is a distraction from my “day job” as a Marketing Consultant & Copywriter, which I find much easier.  It’s not that solving a company’s marketing or communications problems is a breeze, it’s just that I’ve been doing it a long time and after a while you recognise common problems and their solutions. I gave a talk on this topic a few weeks ago at a business show. My presentation was called Memorable Marketing and would have featured a series of amusing and memorable videos had the sound system worked (Yes… memorable, I know!) Instead, after telling a few stories and having a little bit of fun with the audience it was time to take the sensible choice of letting them go rather than describing what the videos would have shown, which would probably have induced an even quicker exit.  But I did promise them that I’d pick one video and put it on the blog so here it comes…


Memorable Marketing

In a nutshell—as I know many of you who subscribe to this blog are not self-employed—Memorable Marketing is a term I coined a couple of years ago to describe the fact that your average person doesn’t like to be sold to, they prefer to buy, so you need to “pre-sell” them with your advertising. And generally (there are exceptions), the chances are that when someone sees your ad, they won’t be looking for what you’re selling at that time. So when you create promotional material—anything from a leaflet to a logo to a social media post—the most important thing it must generally be is memorable so that when the need arises for a product or service you are the first company that springs to mind. Forget volumes of narrative about everything you do—just be memorable. To that end I will share with you this great social media ad that went viral last year as an April Fool’s joke about Helium beer.


Here’s the memorable, funny viral video: CLICK TO WATCH

Like it or not (and some who didn’t failed to realise it was an April Fool!) the video got nearly three quarters of a million views in just over a year, keeping the brand “out there” all the time. Perhaps more small business owners out there can take a lesson from its success.

There are ways—even if it might not be as extreme as the beer ad—for small companies to be a little bit different and become a bit more memorable to their potential customers. Done well and appropriately, Memorable Marketing can work as well for small businesses as their larger counterparts. As I said to the audience at the business show “If you want to make money, make memories”. Here’s a great example of a small business Memorable Marketing from a translation company called Tongue Tied NW. They sent me a mailshot with bad and funny translations in various languages. No sales pitch—just this:

Here’s an extract from memorable and funny mailer…

Paris: “Please leave your values at the front desk”

Switzerland: “Our wines leave you nothing to hope for”

Norway: “Ladies are requested not to have children in the bar”

Vienna: “In case of fire, do your utmost to alarm the hotel porter”

Bucharest: “The lift is being fixed for the next day. During that time we regret that you will be unbearable”

Moscow : “If this is your first visit to the USSR, you are welcome to it”

Japan : “Guests are requested not to smoke or do other disgusting behaviours in bed”

Thailand: “Please do not bring solicitors into your room”

Nairobi “Customers who find our waitresses rude ought to see the manager”

Acapulco: “The manager has personally passed all the water served here”

Memorable, eh? And not at all expensive.

I’m sure it’s time for me to check that I practise what I preach. Maybe I should have videoed myself putting the bench together and then speeded it up to the theme music from Fawlty Towers? It might have given someone a laugh—even if only my Other Half—but would it have been memorable?