Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Is The World's Population Infact The Biggest Public Relations Department?

Wake up. Switch on your blackberry. Check peoples status updates on Facebook. 'Like it'. Update mine 'Carli-ann is going on holiday in 3 days!!'. Shower. Dress. What shall I wear? Pick up my designer handbag. Leave my house. Get into my branded car. Go and buy a magazine. Go to work.

How many of these decisions have been made to portray a certain image to others? How many people in my 628 friends actually care about my holiday? Why did I wear certain clothes? Why did I purchase that designer bag? Why did I choose to buy that certain brand of car? To project an image to others - that's why - consciously or unconsciously? -I have made it...yes everyone look at me I am interesting, I am going on holiday, I can afford designers......

People don't buy the products., they buy the benefits that they bring - a bicycle would get you from A-B, in fact your feet would too....but people still pay £70'000 for a Jaguar because it presents an image that is successful and sophisticated.

Facebook is a prime example of how people advertise themselves, it's not just businesses whose pages tell people what they do and how they do it. There are even websites where people can choose 'funny' status updates....just so people will think they are funny. Looking at a couple of the 30 million status's updated everyday you see themes running through:

******** feels rough << this insinuates that they want attention - they want people to say 'oh why??' and feel sorry for them....

****** is sick of it all... << this is also a cry for help - they want people to ask what is wrong with them and offer their support - what makes this more irritating is that they won't tell people what is wrong with them (or if they do it’s by private message..)

******* can't wait for tonight with ****** and ***** << this is effectively to make anyone who isn't invited jealous - especially by specifying - this type of status also projects a fun image - as they are going out...

****** is so happy << this is the one of the most pathetic types almost as irritating as:

****** is so annoyed / or something just as personal.

It's the easiest way of changing your self concept - how you see yourself and sometimes more importantly how you want others to see you.

Increasingly Facebook is being used by potential employers to check up on you after the interview - have you got any incriminating, drunken pictures....check....examples of bad behaviour....check....well make sure you de-tag yourself !! It has been known for someone to be sacked because of the content of their social networking profile....whatever happened to freedom of speech ??!!

What you purchase, what you put on your Facebook, what make up you wear - everything you do gives out an image to others.....So next time you buy that new car, bag or jumper think about your motives behind it....might just be surprised!!

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Smile More.....

Sat in my seminar (which I did arrive slightly late for due to the weather.....yes I admit it was only rain........) the discussion was about 'Personal Introspection' - Impressive sounding isn't it ?! That's what I thought - it wasn't a term I was comfortable with until I gave it an extra bit of thought.....

Stood in Primark, surrounded by screaming children (and mothers), looking at the unhappy and unmotivated staff it made me look at the item in my hands (an umbrella for £3 - because of the rain...obviously) and ponder : did I really need this ?! The feeling I got whilst in the store looking at the haphazard shelves and untidy jewellery stands made me question my purchase but at £3 you can't go wrong.... The boy on the checkout did little to put this uneasiness to rest by sending a woman to go and get another one because that one didn't have a tag.....he then turned to his colleague next to him and said:

'I hate it when they bring ones that don't have tags....'

I simply couldn't believe it - surely if they had been doing their job properly ALL of the items would have tags on.......but I couldn't be bothered to say I just wanted to get my umbrella and get out......

I have wanted to leave a shop before - however this wasn't a £3 umbrella I was buying - it was my Louis Vuitton handbag - I made a special trip to Leeds after saving up the money I needed (I won't discuss I believe in 'price per wear....the more you wear/use it = the cheaper it was haha) despite having the money for the bag I wanted, the snooty shop assistant made me feel like I shouldn't have been there - shimming over to me on the ridiculously shiny floor, with her perfectly manicured hands and highlighted hair and asking me in their posh accent: 'May I help you?' - I would be surprised if that woman could see me over her nose....she was looking down it so far. I felt embarrassed and that I didn't belong - I wasn't their stereotypical customer - the great feeling came however when I plonked down the money for the bag in £20 notes - should have seen her face then !!!!

So......these were my experiences in a high end shop - and a cheap shop - they were both bad in some way....

I feel slightly biased with this next paragraph - as those who know me know how much I love Topshop anyway....but it's the one shop that I believe have got the perfect mix for me - they play trendy, up to-date, edgy music, there is a nice layout with the clothes and accessories merchandised nicely with the mannequins wearing new outfits every time I go in (and that's regularly.....) my favourite section has to be the 'Buy it now or regret it later' its organised as a little treasure trove like in a vintage shop - you have to hunt for the item that's been waiting for you. The staff are always really friendly and make genuine conversation about what you are buying, wearing or your hair - this makes me want to go back.....sadly enough they are almost my friends.... :-)

These are all examples of personal introspection - what MY opinions are, MY experiences, MY thoughts and MY feelings - yes there are influences on them e.g. marketing strategy (how people are attempting to get me to buy their product) such as Topshops' buy it now section - they are telling me that I will regret it if I don't buy it - a feeling that I don't want to have- yes I know that the girls in there aren't always interested in what I am buying....they probably think its hideous...but at least they pretend to be (and are good at it...)

Shopping is done in peoples leisure time - so should be enjoyable - so for all you shop assistants remember:

A smile costs nothing.

And it will make all the difference.

Thursday, 1 October 2009

'Lets all jump on the solar powered bandwagon....'

With events such as the UN Climate change conference in December and the Carbon reduction commitment coming up it's no surprise that savvy companies (and even the followers) have decided to tell consumers that they are 'green'.

'Green Marketing' has been going on for a while - but now more than ever - companies are reaching out to consumers and telling them of their green policies - whether it's a leading brand of washing powder encouraging people to was at 30c instead of 40c or a toilet roll brand planting god knows how many trees for every pack of toilet roll sold or shops charging you for a carrier bag......but how much of this is done for show?

Nowadays consumers expect companies to be related with a good cause - it's part of the augmented many people would prefer to buy a product that could benefit someone else in the long run.

Businesses HAVE to reduce their carbon emissions - whether that's through reduced packaging or paperless billing - there is a difference in caring like you care and having to care.

A industry sector which will have a hard time are car producers (as if they haven't been hit hard already) - are they meant to tell people to tell people to use their product less ? Or buy a smaller version....I don't think so !! Some have already thought a head and innovated new products - e.g. BMW's Auto Start/Stop function is fitted, which cuts down on fuel and emissions by automatically switching off the engine whenever the car is at a standstill.

It made me think - if a company was related to a worth while cause (which I am not disputing is a good idea) what would happen if they weren't allowed to plaster it all over their packaging - so the consumer was unaware of what they were doing ?.............

.........It's like: A tree still makes a noise when it falls even if no one is there to hear it...........I doubt this would be case with a lot of these businesses.