Australian Registered Clubs – Destinations for ‘Gastrodiplomacy’​

Featured

 

If travelling is an act of freedom in times of uncertainty and growing protectionism, then travelling for food culture experiences is ‘gastrodiplomacy’ at its best.

Hearts and minds won through the stomach is a much more emotional and engaging way to construct a narrative of understanding and social cohesion amongst diverse cultures. To my mind, the social history and unique assets of Australian registered clubs make them powerhouses of possibilities.

Food is Changing How People Travel

We know tourists plan entire vacations around food and registered clubs can leverage this trend for their best interests. In fact food culture ranks third after cultural and nature motives. While Noma has proven that you can build a global community around a restaurant, you don’t have to be a Noma pop-up to build community around a club for travellers looking for authentic experiences and connections with the surrounding community. What better place to do that than in a registered club which holds the social and cultural story of its community within the fabric of its walls and the memories of its patrons?

As more travelers have realised that dining is truly an experience in itself, more restaurants and destinations are pursuing innovation and creating unique dining experiences. More international travelers choose destinations based on food, restaurants and fresh produce. Australian clubs offering innovative food activities and events are primed to meet this demand. What better place to take ‘Visiting Friends and Relatives’ than to your club to show off the chef’s latest food culture fusion creation or an Australian gin and food pairing experience?

Hungry for Authentic Experiences – Hyper-local Dining

Eighty percent of Chinese travelers say they would like to book a meal in a stranger’s house because they want to see how people live and want to meet people in an authentic setting. It’s just the same as if you went to Paris, it would be difficult to meet Parisians up close and personal unless you booked an experience specifically to do this. Seventy-five percent of Americans have engaged in eating with local families or a hands-on experience such as a cooking class led by a local chef while travelling. Travellers book food experiences, meals, cooking classes, private parties wherever their travels take them in an effort to feel the authentic.

Millennials and Gastronomic Capital

Millennials now view food as important as their clothes in defining their character and social capital. Clubs that showcase their diverse culinary culture in new and exciting ways while promoting sustainability and social responsibility, will capture the millennials stomachs, hearts and minds well into the future.

Bottom Line Benefits 

Leveraging a club’s gastronomic assets has economic, social, cultural and environmental benefits. The 3rd UNWTO World Form on Gastronomic Tourism in May 2017 concluded that:

• Gastronomy is a key resource in the value proposition and differentiation of destinations. It is a market segment in itself rather than just a part of cultural tourism.

• Gastronomic (culinary tourism) broadens the view through the exercise performed by chefs and restaurants as loudspeakers to project gastronomic wealth, incorporating the triangle between cuisine, product and territory.

• Gastronomic Tourism contributes to the conservation of biodiversity and landscapes by maintaining the usage, customs and functions that allow for the preservation of the tangible and intangible wealth and the recovery of culinary memory.

• Gastronomic Tourism empowers all those who make up the chain of gastronomic value, especially the local communities, and also the professionals in their capacity as ambassadors of the territory, thus reinforcing the identity and sense of belonging and safeguarding the authenticity of each place.

• Gastronomic Tourism, through technology in the new world of a more demanding and hyper-connected customer, offers destinations the opportunity for the local community and travellers to co-construct their food stories.

• Gastronomic Tourism has the power to balance the heritage legacy between one’s own and that of others, allowing for the influence of other cultures that have contributed to the evolution of gastronomy of the region over the centuries.

Does Marketing Food Have a Positive Impact?

According to a recent survey by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) local government tourism boards and travel companies agree they are not doing enough to market their regions food and beverage offerings. While all respondents had indicated they hosted activities to promote food and beverage offerings and experiences, fewer than half said they had a food tourism strategy. The data below highlights the respondent’s thoughts on the benefits of promoting food tourism.

Type of Impact and Percent of Respondents

Promoting food tourism increased our positive media coverage – 77.20%
Promoting food tourism had an impact on increasing our website traffic – 65%
Promoting food tourism increased our income from this kind of tourism – 59.50%
Promoting food tourism increased sales at food-related businesses – 52.50%
Promoting food tourism increased bookings from tourists interested in food – 44%
Promoting food tourism had no impacts at all – 14%

Registered clubs can benefit from the experience of Tourism Boards in targeting the most popular food tourism promotion activities to see what resonates with locals and visitors and how best to spend their marketing dollars.

Activity and Percent of Respondents

Read published media articles – 93%
Read published research studies – 80.70%
Organised a gastronomy event (wine festival, food truck) – 78.90%
Sponsored gastronomy events/exhibitions – 75.40%
Used Facebook to target tourists interested in food – 63.20%
Tourism product developments (food trails, museums, visits to producers) – 59.60%
Created a brochure about food types in the destination – 59.60%
Hosted big food-related events to showcase products – 54.40%
Advertised via online platforms (blogs) – 54.40%
Used Instagram to target tourists interested in food – 42.10%
Used YouTube to target tourists interested in food – 40.40%
Used Twitter to target tourists interested in food – 38.60%
Used other social media to target tourists interested in food – 33.33%
Used Google+ to target tourists interested in food – 21.10%
Used LinkedIn to target tourists interested in food – 10.50%

Sources:

Destinations Concede Their Food Tourism Marketing Efforts Fall Short

Chefs+Tech: Will Travel for Food

“Gastro what? What do you do with a Master of Gastronomic Tourism?”

This is almost always the reaction when I tell people I’m studying a Master of Gastronomic Tourism. As I near the end of my degree, I’ve put a lot of thought into how to shape it into my dream work/life purpose.

Gastronomic Tourism as a discipline came into being as observation, experience and research revealed tourists plan entire vacations around food. Places, precincts, restaurants, food tourism companies, producers, growers, regions, cities and countries wanted to leverage this trend for their best interests.

So the marriage of Gastronomy and Tourism took place and blended the discovery, tasting, experiencing, researching, understanding and writing about food preparation and the sensory qualities of human nutrition as a whole and how it interfaces with the broader culture; AND travel for pleasure or business, the theory and practice of touring, the business of attracting, accommodating, and entertaining tourists and may be international, or within the traveler’s country or region.

A Gastronomic Tourism professional is someone with the skill set to develop destinations for social and economic benefit through innovative activities showcasing the unique food and drink culture of that destination.

“Please explain.”

Unpacking that definition:
‘professional’ means I will be engaged in a this activity as my main paid occupation;
‘develop’ means to bring into existence, grow or cause to grow and become more mature, advanced, or elaborate;
‘destinations’ denote a place that people will make a special trip to visit. It can be a restaurant, precinct, club, town, city, region, state or country.
‘social’ means in pleasant companionship with friends or associates, the welfare of human beings as members of society and tending to form cooperative and interdependent relationships with others;
‘economic’ relating to, or based on the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services;
‘benefit’ is something that produces good or helpful results or effects or that promotes well-being;
‘innovative’ introducing new ideas; original and creative in thinking to a process;
‘activities’ are direct experiences with animation, liveliness, an active movement or operation, using bodily power, function, or process;
‘showcasing’ an exhibit or display, usually of an ideal or representative model of something in its setting or place;
‘unique’ means limited in occurrence to an embodiment of characteristics or a given class, situation, or area;
‘culture’ means the ideas, customs, and social behaviour of a particular people or society, arts and other manifestations of human intellectual achievement regarded collectively.

“Yes, but what will you do, exactly?”

Bring a love of, experience, knowledge and skills in business, tourism, marketing and gastronomy together to provide the food tourism strategy for those destinations.

Depending on the type of destination, developing food tourism for a place from zero would involve site visits, mystery shopping and research to identify the destination’s hidden or historic gastronomic assets, uncover the food stories of locals, immigrants and refugees and discover their food heroes. If the destination had some existing food tourism, an audit of those and potential others would be in order.

One might use a combination of public forums and discussions to uncover what the community think are their marketable gastronomic assets. It may be necessary to conduct focus groups and workshop ideas with stakeholders to refine the ideas.

Along the way one would need to identify and engage corporate sponsors, social enterprises, volunteers and community groups that could be involved and provide support. If opportunities for trails, tours, events or festivals are identified, engage with local government or tourism bodies to develop and champion these ideas.

It may be necessary to provide assistance with branding and marketing of the individual tactics and after some development takes place, undertake surveys to obtain feedback from stakeholders and activity attendees.

Some destinations know they have existing assets but are unsure how to begin the process and some have a developing or mature product that may need enhancement or redevelopment and relaunch. Just as places, humans and food are in a state of dynamic reinvention, so gastronomic tourism destination development should be.

“OK, but what sort of organisations would benefit from this specialist service?”

Food tourism start-ups and organisations that are struggling to create a strong food (tourism) brand identity, those looking for a competitive edge, to grow or re-brand, re-launch and change direction.

A registered club may want to attract new members and new types of diners by offering new and different food experiences, activities and events.

Food tour and tourism businesses may wish to attract food tourists that are prepared to pay more for a more immersive experience.

Producers and growers associations or farmer’s market groups with tight budgets may need to invest in more clever, cost-effective strategic activities to attract and retain customers but lack the specialist skills to identify the tactics.

The destination marketing of places, precincts, regions, cities and countries are largely funded by their local councils, state, federal government and through specific grants. Some government bodies have permanent staff and some contract staff on a project basis but may benefit from specialist consulting.

“What’s Your ‘End Game’?”

 

Mastering the Art of Small Talk – Tips for Networkers

Small Talk

From an article by James Adonis for the SMH:

“For those like me who are too shy, too awkward, too bored or too incompetent to engage in small talk, here’s a selection of tips courtesy of Debra Fine from her bestseller, The Fine Art of Small Talk, published a decade ago.

Talk to a stranger: Rather than waiting to be introduced to someone, just walk up to a colleague you haven’t met and start chatting. Make an effort, too, to remember their name and to insert it occasionally into the conversation.

Arm yourself with icebreakers: A few suggestions from the author include:

  • “How did you come up with this idea?”
  • “What do you see as the coming trends in your business?”
  • “What’s the most difficult part of your job?”

She suggests a question should always be prefaced with a statement so that it doesn’t sound too full on. The first bullet point, for example, can begin with “I love your idea”, before leading to an enquiry about it.

Infiltrate a group of people: Fine recommends this can be done by standing close to them and making it obvious you’re listening. Then, and this is the important bit, be cognisant of signs they want you to join them, such as when they start “asking your opinion”. An easy one to miss, that one.

She has many other ideas, many of them useful. Ask open-ended questions (those that can’t be answered with just one word). Ask probing questions (those where you seek to hear more about a particular point). And observe what people are wearing, how they’re acting, where they’re working, and ask questions about that stuff as well.

There’s a theme here, I think. It seems to be linked to the old truism that we have two ears and one mouth for a reason.”
Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/small-business/managing/blogs/work-in-progress/master-the-art-of-small-talk-20140912-3fem4.html#ixzz3D3PdsUT8

Slam Dunks for Credibility Visibility

crediblityYour credibility is very important to prospective customers. Many times your actual expertise is irrelevant and your success rests on your ability to prove your credibility. Your customers must believe you have the ability to provide the desired product or service.

 

Assuming you do have skills or product required to do the job, the following will give you a credibility refresher.

The thesaurus uses words like” belief, credence, credit, assurance, faith, trust, truth, confidence, presumption, dependence and reliance” to define credibility. A customer considering your product or service is taking a risk and therefore must believe you can satisfy their needs before they will move forward or have an appreciation of the value your price offers.

The Basics of Visible Credibility

Physical demonstrations of credibility include maintaining an image which is credible means that your physical office/store space must be reflective of success in your chosen occupation. Tatty and worn furniture or carpet, a dated equipment, decor, dirty windows or bathrooms and an unswept entry do not inspire confidence when your prospect arrives at your business premises.

Equally, your vehicle – if you take clients in your car and your and your staff’s dress, grooming and manner are also instrumental in building credibilty in your ability to deliver. More subtle, but equally important is the display of your qualifications, diplomas, degrees and certifications in your reception or office. There is no doubt that press and magazine clippings with articles and pictures of you shown in a positive light are extremely impressive. We are well aware of  the inherit credibility given someone or something if it is in print.

Credibility Built Offline Feeds Credibility Online

With the internet has come the need to broaden your credibility footprint in cyberspace. Today, a small business without a website is not considered a really serious business. A website that looks professional, reflects your business brand effectively and stands out among your competitors is a matter of basic business survival today and can be acheived without huge expense.

The clippings you get from the magazines and newspapers can be rendered as pdf’s on your website, you can write up stories on conference you attended to keep your skills current, your own public speaking, charity and other activities. You can write or video a blog and publish it via your Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or YouTube profile.You can set up groups, webinars, discussions and guest blog for other bloggers.  You can produce and send an email newsletter to your clients and prospective clients. You can write a hard or soft copy book and sell it or give it away to qualified prospects/clients online or offline. There are a myriad of  platforms in which to build your online credibility and translate you offline credibility activities to the online world.

Check out my video on How to Maximise Your PR Pings here.

 

Direct Mail Postcard – So Retro, So Trendy, So Purple Cow!

For the first couple of years in business, we used a full colour, full bleed photo business card with black print reverse. I needed to make the business card work harder for the money I was spending on it and felt I could not get across all that I needed to say about our business on a tiny card. I wanted it to be a glossy DL promotional brochure but simply did not have the money for such a piece.

I decided to upgrade to a custom colour postcard which was not that much more expense. The postcard has so much going for it. It has greater visual impact than a business card; I could fit so much more on it; it would not be lost or thrown away as readily. As the photos were attractive and unusual, it was more likely to get attached to the fridge at home as a ‘wish list’ reminder.

My first postcard had one full bleed photo of six rocking horses, the final form of the postcard was still full bleed, but with five photos and told the whole story of our business to my satisfaction. I used them for a quick response for telephone enquiries, especially for older customers who were not computer literate and still had a need to see and hold something from you before they felt comfortable enough about your product to act.

I never went anywhere without the postcards. I carried about twenty-five in my handbag and the in the dashboard of the van.  I gave them to people who were reading the promotional sticker on the side of the van in shopping centre car parks and streets all over Australia. I passed them out the window of the van to a mum crossing an intersection with three children under five in tow while I was waiting for the lights to change.

The additional benefits of the postcard are that no envelope is required; the address is handwritten which is a more personal touch; it promotes your product as it goes through the postal service; and if we were in the US it would be several cents cheaper to post than a normal letter. Some people would ask, “Can I keep this?” when I handed it to them. They didn’t expect even a colour postcard for free!

Some people would argue that a better size and layout advertising piece for our business would be a portrait design DL card or DL folded brochure that sits in neatly in a DL perspex or rotating wire brochure holder. Our postcard sits sideways in those holders and is shorter than the DL pieces in a brochure stand. This is another advantage of the postcard – it sticks out from the crowd – a ‘purple cow’ if you will.

And guess what? Now direct mail is making a comeback! Just think how cool it is to get something in the post now that everything from, bank statements, invoices, utility bills, school fees, child care fees, loyalty card statements are all online. Getting a postcard in the mail is so retro, its positively trendy.

A Winning Image Harmonises With Your Customer’s World

AerialViewRockingHorseLodgeXmas2007Creating the right image to build credibility in your market is important because people will form an impression from the first meeting.  What you wear, your grooming, your vehicle, your place of work, your marketing materials and affiliations – the trappings of image, need to work for you and not against you. While you want to present success you do not want to do it to excess. If it is found out that certain things in your image arsenal were put in place simply to impress, you destroy your credibility.

What is important for a positive impression and what do you want to convey about your business? In our business the majority of customers came to our home. We used to live on a five acre block in a small 55 year old red brick spec home with the workshop in detached shedding near to the house. We were on a main road directly beside traffic lights with awkward access. The sheds were functional and the grounds tidy, but we didn’t look like Australia’s largest makers and restorers of rocking horses.

While I knew I presented a winning image of our business over the telephone and on the internet, at times I could see trepidation and disappointment in the faces, particularly of the well-to-do customers, who came drop off their restorations or pick up their finished rocking horses. I put this down to the property not matching up to their image expectations which had been effectively created through other channels.

By a little real estate serendipity  we were able to change our place of work to an impressive, 10 year old home with large colourbond shed on 10 acres with 300 metres of road frontage on a busy arterial with easy access. When people arrived at this new place of work  the image created both over the phone and on the internet as Australia’s largest makers, restorers and teachers of rocking horses matched the reality they found.

While you may not be in a position to change your place of work as we did, you need to know it has the potential to make a world of difference to your image, credibility and may in some circumstances bring in more business and publicity.

We had more attention from ad agency photographers, prop masters, TV, magazines and press in 18 months at our new location than the five years at our previous location. I did market our previous location, but it could never have received the sustained interest that this one has.

There is another subtlety in our image that I was keen to cultivate to prospective customers and class students. While I wanted to convey a successful image, I also want to convey that our classes and rocking horses were good value for money and we were down to earth, practical, approachable and not precious about what we did. These values are important to most people but especially baby boomers considering taking a three day class and spending potentially thousands of dollars with you.

I did not produce a fancy, full colour brochure to promote our classes, tours or accessories range. I printed on demand a black and white version from my laser printer on different coloured paper stock. The showroom was tidy and functional but I didn’t obsess about the dust, as it was part of the charm that we were “a working rocking horse makers”. My work is was sometimes dirty and messy and I did not fuss about my workshop clothes – racing in to change when customers arrived. We had a well maintained white Mercedes commercial van as our only vehicle which denoted quality and practicality without being excessive.

I put “image resources” into my phone manner, website, colour postcard, the class booking pack, keeping the property & vehicle well maintained and providing high quality meals and refreshments to classes and groups.

The best way to ascertain what kind of image you should cultivate is to observe your current customers and how they dress, what standard of car they drive, what accessories they sport, what hobbies they have and what clubs or groups they are members of. Build an image that harmonises with their’s without overdoing it. Your goal is to eliminate any possible negative barriers to doing business with them.

Differentiation by Specialisation – What You Need to Know

There are a number of reasons for considering specialisation: the world and life is becoming more complex; it is difficult to be all things to all people ; on balance, a specialist will make more money than a generalist on an per job or hourly basis; the perceived value of your services is heightened; keeping abreast of developments in an area of speciality is easier than over a broad general area; you will develop mastery and expertise you may not have otherwise and in time can charge a premium for your services  which a customer will feel offers him more value for money than a similar service from a generalist.

Be cautious of choosing a specialty that is too narrow. It would have been so much easier to simply be “the best value made to order timber heirloom rocking horse makers in Australia”, but it is not always possible to make a living doing just one thing as the work may be  too seasonal. Rocking horse makers traditionally do sixty percent of their turnover in the last three months of the year and struggle for the other nine months. Restoration work helped smooth out seasonality, but classes effectively eliminated all seasonality issues for us.

In the early to mid “naughties”, our business could have become victim to the cyclical swings created by housing booms with their subsequent interest rate rises and ensuing petrol price rises. These major economic changes decimated discretionary incomes among new yuppie parents who were 50% of our customer base. Fortunately, we relocated to a property which opened the door to being able to offer classes. The classes attracted dominantly baby boomer grandparents whose discretionary income is minimally affected by these factors.

The fact is that the rocking horse market is very small.  If we had taken the track of geographical specialisation in New South Wales alone, we would have starved. Happily our early foray into web marketing in 1998 effectively positioned us for national and international customers for all aspects of the business.

After you have examined the make up of your customers ask yourself, what work do I spend the most time doing? Is this work profitable and how profitable is it compared to other work? What work do I enjoy most doing?

We spent a large amount of time doing restoration work. It was the least profitable aspect of the business – but for a rocking horse specialist, if you make, they expect you to restore as well. A significant part of reputation and word or mouth came from restoration work. How could we remain the specialists in rocking horses if we could and would subcontract out the restoration work?

There were two possible solutions. One was to continue to offer a restoration service. We would still receive, evaluate, price and get paid for the restoration. With the customers knowledge we would  subcontract out the work, pay the contractor, keep a spotters or handling fee and have the horse at our place to be collected by the customer– all while maintaining quality control.

The other solution was to restore only valuable old English rocking horses (5-10) per year and provide a restoration advisory service for Australian rocking horses. We could still provide restoration kits and accessories, but produce an instructional DVD which would include common repairs, preparation, painting and fit out instruction from go to whoa.

We chose the first option which allowed us to spend more time doing the more enjoyable and profitable aspects of: teaching rocking horse making; providing mail order kits, accessories, plans, books and DVD’s and made to order and commissions of rocking horses at a higher price point.

Differentiate, Deliver, Over-Deliver, Keep on Delivering

The Unique Selling Proposition USP

This old marketing gem asks you to answer the question, “Why should a customer do business with me instead of my competitors?”

There are two major benefits in developing a USP. First, it clearly differentiates your business in the eyes of your current and potential customers or clients. Second, it focuses your and/or team on delivering the promise of the USP, helping to improve your internal performance.

The USP may be used repetitively in your marketing literature to build the customer’s or client’s identification of your company with your product or service. So many products have generic selling features that often the only way they feel they can differentiate themselves is on price.

The Extra Value Position EVP

You can differentiate your product by your Extra Value Position. The EVP is the service relationship that wraps around your physical product. In my previous rocking horse making/class business we placed a lot of emphasis on service and relationship factors such as providing telephone support when folk got stuck somewhere in the process of making or restoring their own horse. We strove to make sure that we provided a friendly, relaxed and fun atmosphere in the classes and that they are happy with their final results.

We exceeded the customer’s expectation with every contact. Our professional, friendly and helpful phone manner was a constant, even if it meant referring them to another supplier.

We provided additional information on accommodation, restaurants, tourist attractions, maps etc in the booking pack. They didn’t expect this, but the information provided took the fear of the unknown out of travelling to an area they are not familiar with and plants the seed that a few days extra stay in the area either side of their class might be fun.

On graduating from their class, we provided a graduation photo, framed diploma, silkscreen apron, embroidered cap and a goodies bag – all of which were completely unexpected. Some folk handed the cap and apron back after the graduation photo thinking they were just for the photo – the “something for nothing” takes them completely by surprise. Rewards (unexpected or otherwise), plus great service will build loyalty.

The students have expressed that they expected (and would have been happy with) sandwiches on an outdoor setting for the lunches. We exceed the expectation by having a three course catered lunch in the house, sitting up to a nicely set table with all the trimmings. While it seems a simple thing, inviting our students into our home to eat with us said to them “I consider you a friend and value your company”. It exceeded their expectation and built a relationship.

Ensuring customer satisfaction and loyalty will give you a competitive edge. We ensured customer satisfaction in our classes by taking care to read their emotional state at the morning/afternoon teas and resolving any concerns they have at that time. We also conducted a satisfaction survey at the end of each class so they can express anonymously their feedback on the experience. The satisfaction survey lets us measure and compare their expectations against the actual experience and correct as necessary.

To survive in business today, you not only need to differentiate, but you need to deliver, over deliver and keep on delivering. With social media, news travels fast and bad news travels faster than ever – so you must keep on delivering on your brand promise everyday – long after the initial purchase.

The Harder You Work the Luckier You Get?

It was not possible to make a living just selling finished rocking horses, the market simply wasn’t and isn’t big enough. If you make, people expect you to be able to restore and a large part of a rocking horse maker’s reputation is built on restorations.

People get a kick out of being able to meet the man who made or restored their horse and in many cases they asked to have the grandchild or child’s photo taken with the maker.

The work hours in the beginning were 10 hours a day 7 days a week in the off season and 16 hours a day in the lead up to Christmas.  A decade later it was still 10 hours a day 7 days a week and 16 hours a day in the lead up to Christmas.

The horses were made with hand power tools and a carving disk, not a large and expensive copy carving machine. This means three things: no two horses are exactly the same, there is not a great deal of competition given the physical stresses and long hours and there was always a limited production capacity.

Before our partnership the business made about 100 horses per year and several dozen restorations. Per year, together we made about 200 horses, did 75 restorations and made another 50 as we taught students at our catered 3-Day Power-Carved Rocking Horse Making Classes. We also sold plans, accessories, carving aids and kits by mail order.

While this diversity of activity helped with the seasonality of the business it also suited the gentle shift created by the baby boomer’s access to money and leisure time. They were into classes, DIY, cultural exploration and education . My working life at the time was made so much more pleasurable sharing it with appreciative, like-minded individuals such as those.

 

The Birth of A Shoestring Marketer

In setting to work to generate as much free publicity as possible for the rocking horse business, I focused on the unusual nature of the occupation and skill-set required.  I began by pitching local press and relevant magazines. A rash of local newspaper articles ensued, plus profiles in Australian Country Collections, Rick Rutherford’s Country, The Land, Sydney’s Child, Australian Country Style, Australian Woodworker, Australiasian Toymaker and Retirement Living.

Once I had some success and a taste of free exposure, I got brave and began pitching suitable TV shows. Appearances on “Our House”, “Totally Wild”, “Burke’s Backyard”,  “The Morning Shift”,  “Sydney Weekender” and “Huey’s Cooking Adventures” came in fairly quick succession. There is very much a snowball effect in media. Once one journalist/producer judges you ‘worthy’ to do a story on, you show that story to the next one and they tend to follow. It’s works like a ‘media testimonial.’

When we restored the Westmead Children’s Hospital 126 year old rocking horse for free, this brought a new round of articles in the Telegraph, Parramatta Advertiser and others.

The story of our treechange, senior’s tours, the property itself, the small business angle and particularly the classes as the ultimate hobby holiday for baby boomers added to the variety of attractive angles for the media. How many angles has your product got?

Being bound to the workshop most every day meant my partner listened to a lot of radio.  He would call into to talk back shows and the Saturday morning “Woodies” show when the topic was relevant to what he did. It was surprising how many people told us they heard him on the radio at some unusual hour. All this as a result of a spontaneous share on talk back radio.

The seniors and special interest group tours were great public relations for the business and consumed much less time than say having 20 individual visits. Over a two hour tour groups of 15-50 persons could visit the workshop and learn about old horses and construction techniques of new horses, visit the B&B, pram collection and hobby farm and enjoy an old fashioned morning tea for $15 per person.

We developed an annual open day to be held at our property in October. It had lots of stall holders from the region with the theme “Handmade Homegrown”. This capitalised on pre-Christmas rocking horse ordering habits, impulse buying and provided another opportunity to promote class bookings for the following year.

The year we had Huey cooking at Rocking Horse Lodge we had 105 people on our waitlist for classes for the coming year and got 7 subsequent TV appearances from the filming that was done!

In a later blog I will talk about the pitching process for press, magazines and TV.