Conceito norte-americano e brasileiro de “Motéis”: Choque Cultural no Marketing

No jornal “Valor”, um destaque que pressagia uma choque cultural no mundo do Marketing: o grupo hoteleiro Wyndham, dos EUA  pretende introduzir o conceito respeitável do “motel” aqui no Brasil.

Aconselho-os a usar com cuidado o nome “motel”, que significa aqui um hotel
para locais de encontro. videntemente, há uma grande quantidade e variedade de motéis que servem aos casais de namorados que procuram um ponto de encontro conveniente e respeitável. Apesar dos letreiros de néon berrantes, não têm estigma.

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“Mirrors on the ceiling, and pink champagne on ice…”

Na realidade, as cadeias de “Motéis” nos EUA começaram  juntamente com a
construção das grandes rodavias interestaduais oferecendo aos viajantes  quartos limpos, seguros e acessíveis. Nada mais, nada menos.

Por um lado, devido a essa lacuna cultural, a sensibilidade norte-americana não permitiria essa publicidade literal que existe nos motéis brasileiros… quaisquer que sejam as razões para se hospedar no motel! Por outro lado, na minha opinão, a cadeia Wyndham pode assegurar o lançamento bem sucedido desse novo conceito, com outra palavra brasileira como “hotelzinho”ou”super-pousada”. Qualquer que seja o nome, aconselho  a Wyndham a começar a construir rapidamente … a Copa do Mundo 2014 está chegando!

Hemingway Acceptance Speech, 1954 Nobel Literature Prize

Sometimes, doing a better job in our chosen fields means listening to how legends in other fields define their path to greatness. Ernest Hemingway was awarded the 1954 Nobel Prize for Literature, and this is his acceptance speech, recorded in Cuba.

While my career goals do not include literary legend, I always strive to improve my writing, as a means of imparting maximum impact and value to the solutions I provide to my clients.  To me, it helps to hear what this giant of our age thinks about gaining such a prestigious honor as the Nobel.  Listen here.

AARP National Convention’s Lifestyle Expo

I’m working at the annual AARP Life@50+ national convention in Los Angeles, promoting exercise and rehabilitation systems from sibling companies VQ ActionCare and VQ OrthoCare. Because nothing says “over 50” like bum knees and lack of exercise, our products BioniCare and Resistance Chair are right at home here!

Here are my thoughts on reaching this audience:

  1. Life@50+ is a lifestyle expo.It’s unlike any other trade show I’ve sponsored because these 25,000 attendees are linked solely by their era of birth. Unlike trade shows or other consumer-focused shows that lure experts and enthusiasts in a particular category, the aisles and pavilions of Life@50+ are an A-to-Z trip through life as an older American in 2011: finances, food, leisure, communication, and health. Hence, the exhibits list reads like the Yellow Pages instead of a trade association roster.
  2. Main Street USA. Strolling the aisles is also like a shopping trip down a traditional Main Street: travel agents, medical dispensers, clothiers, Realtors. As in medieval days when merchants posted garish, graphical signs to inform and lure shoppers, we Life@50 exhibitors must show and tell our brands’ value propositions in concise, visually arresting terms. Here, it’s especially challenging to win new customers and sell them on the spot, but really rewarding when it does happen!

Life@50+ rolls through Saturday at the Los Angeles Convention Center, with a most improbable, yet purely LA mash-up of celebrities including Spike Lee, Tim Gunn and Carol Burnett.

Disruptive Trends Thrive in Hyper-Local Markets

Consider the term “hyper-local”.  In the context of this post, it describes products and services that you buy and sell from providers within close physical proximity to where you sleep and work (not to say you’re dozing at your desk…)  What product and service trait makes it the magnetic, most favored choice?

Density.  Product owners choose a few key locations wherein their target customer abounds, and blanket it, making the product’s around the corner, steady-eddy availability a blockade against competitive products. Like a magnet drawing customers, every time.

Read more at Fast Company. This great quote from the article, about one of my favorite disruptive trends, Zipcar, sums it up: “…what catalyzes [customer’s] decision to go with Zipcar is often the discovery that a car is available five minutes from home rather than 10. That trigger unlocks the magnetic properties of Zipcar.”

Gateway California Speaking Engagement

West Coasters: I’ll be speaking at the annual Gateway California in South San Francisco October 26, on Forming Valuable International Business Relationships.

Gateway California is a concise, one-day export/import forum, perfect for West Coast international business experts. Venue is a stone’s throw from SFO, too… an easy fly-in event for your team and you.

About the event. Learn more, register, and save the date!

Tom Hanson bio.

Gaming for Fitness: Products Span Retailer Aisles

The latest issue of Vision, the Consumer Electronics Assocation’s excellent trade publication features Gaming for Health.  The video gaming industry is feeding new technology and ergonomic interfaces to keep people of all ages fit, alert, and helping them to recover and rehabilitate.

“Exergaming” extends into all age groups and global selling regions. Foundations and university research sites also advance the use of exergames to help better understand health risks and behaviors.

At VQ ActionCare, we’re expanding our retail channel partnerships for sales of a low-impact, seated exercise and rehabilitation system called the Resistance Chair.  While clearly low-tech in form and function, thousands of Resistance Chair users plug into instructional DVDs that allow people stay at home and keep fit. We’re studying our customer’s useage habits and deciding what the next generation of this product will be. It will likely contain more digital intelligence, and link to online fitness and training aids.

Established sporting goods and big box retailers are re-thinking their product lineups, to serve their loyal, aging shoppers. Will be interesting to see how category buyers cross over from the electronics aisle to the fitness corner, when promoting and displaying exergaming and other smart exercise systems.

Read more.

SBA Pilots Trade and Export Promotion Program

The US Small Business Administration announces its State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) pilot grant initiative, a multi-year, $90 million program to assist qualifying small business expand through exports.

Here’s a chance for US businesses who see potential growth overseas, but may lack short-term operating funds to reach the next level of their company’s growth strategy.

Companies can work through their local offices for SBA, Department of Commerce, or other administrative contacts. (In California, the grant is administered via the statewide network of Centers for International Trade, hosted by area community colleges)

Check the program out at at SBA’s website here.

Building Retail Channels: A Milestone

I’m pleased to share news from VQ ActionCare about our retail expansion strategy. Signing up nationwide, top-brand retailers is such an important milestone to reach, and is worthy of a big shout-out.

Here’s my favorite part: “We are excited to make this strategic move to partner with five top national retailers …,” said Tom Hanson, Director of Sales, VQ ActionCare. “… these retail partners… share in our commitment to expanding solutions for active seniors in innovative ways.”

Read the whole press release here.  Learn more about VQ ActionCare’s senior fitness solutions here.

Activewear Taps California Brand Cachet

Was Levi Strauss the founder of the California Look? For generations, clothiers who design with durable work, sports and leisure in mind have called California home. Ocean waves and mountain trails run through the California lifestyle, and local designers have formed a powerhouse brand cachet, for clothing and cars, too. Did you know that Nissan’s research and design beachhead in La Jolla designed the Altima, Maxima, Xterra, and Frontier, among others?

Some California-based activewear manufacturers are reviewing costs, time-to-market pressures and the need for skilled craftsmanship and deciding to “in-source” operations back to greater southern California. Rising wages and a strong yuan make China a less attractive production center, while infrastructure and quality issues make emerging Asian centers such as Vietnam less reliable in a quick-turn, trend-driven industry. Reuters recently reported on this trend, and noted a 6.5% increase in sector employment in the Los Angeles area alone. A sign that a home-grown industry’s manufacturing sector that long ago went East to lower costs, will head back home.  Despite California’s draconian tax and employment policies, the California Cachet and the state’s proven expertise in efficient and timely manufacturing are key competitive advantages.

At a family wedding last weekend, my old friend — a tireless entrepreneur — shared her plans to design, make and ship a new line of activewear from San Diego.  She knows that her affordable, stylish and durable products’ hang tags reading “Designed and Made in California, USA” will draw the attention of retail partners and savvy shoppers.  She’s channeling the guts and foresight of Levi Strauss.

Via Lucis and ARTstor Collaboration

I’m pleased to share news about Via Lucis, our venture to document Romanesque and Gothic churches in France and Spain through high-resolution photography.

ARTstor digital library in New York is collaborating with Via Lucis \to share approximately 2,000 high-resolution images, taken by photographers Dennis Aubrey and PJ McKey, from their extraordinary and unique collection of medieval Christian churches in France and Spain.

The collection primarily features interior architecture, especially the arches, vaults, domes, and buttressing that define the Romanesque and Gothic styles. The collection also features a selection of images of the Vierges Romanes, stylized wooden statues of the Madonna and Child, from the 11th century to the 13th century. A subset of these sculptures includes the Black Madonnas, which are particularly venerated in Spain and France.

Dennis Aubrey explains, “The intent of the photography is both to document these magnificent structures and to capture the mystery and hidden presence of medieval spirituality.”

“As the member of a military family who lived in France for seven years while growing up, I was always aware of these churches and felt a deep personal connection to them,” Aubrey continued, “This is a great opportunity to be able to share what we have documented with a larger audience, to allow others to experience them as PJ and I have.”

Via Lucis Photography and Via Lucis Press are parts of a long-term project to document Romanesque and Gothic churches throughout Europe. The projects include the photographs in the collection and a forthcoming book, Light and Stone. The book includes the Via Lucis photographs accompanied by text from Dennis Aubrey, edited by Ann Hanson. The images are high-resolution representatives from a library of over 45,000 images of over 300 churches and cathedrals throughout France and Spain.

We consider Via Lucis to be a spiritual descendent of two earlier undertakings – the famed “Missions Héliographiques” and the “Éditions Zodiaque”,” said PJ McKey. “It is a very personal project for us and being able to capture these churches in a way they have never been captured before is inspiring. We bring our own photographic eyes to the churches, but let them speak for themselves in their beauty and history.”

In 1837, the French government established the Commission des Monuments Historiques. The inspector of monuments then commissioned the Missions Héliographiques: a group of five photographers whose task was to photograph various monuments throughout France. The Editions Zodiaque was a publishing house started by three monks from the tiny French monastic community of La Pierre Qui Vire. From 1950-1995 they traveled throughout France and Europe photographing Romanesque churches as photographer-pilgrims. The team printed many superb volumes illustrated with their extraordinary photography.

Christine Kuan, Chief Content Officer & VP of External Affairs for ARTstor stated, “The ARTstor Digital Library is delighted to be disseminating this important Via Lucis archive for teaching and research purposes. European Romanesque and Gothic Churches remain one of the most studied areas in the history of art and architecture and it’s wonderful that this collection will be reaching a wide range of educational and scholarly users at the more than 1,350 institutions in 45 countries we serve today.”

“We are pleased that the photographs will be made available to the scholarly and academic communities through this arrangement with ArtStor,” Aubrey said. The ArtStor Digital Library in New York serves educators, scholars, curators, librarians, and students at more than 1,350 universities, colleges, museums, and libraries in 45 countries worldwide.

About Via Lucis
Via Lucis Photography and Via Lucis Press are part of a long-term project to document Romanesque and Gothic churches in France and Spain. The photographs represented here are high-resolution images of Romanesque and Gothic churches in those countries. The photographers, Dennis Aubrey and PJ McKey, have created a library of more than 45,000 images.

About ARTstor
ARTstor is a non-profit initiative, founded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, with a mission to use digital technology to enhance scholarship, teaching, and learning in the arts and associated fields. ARTstor consists of: A repository of hundreds of thousands of digital images and related data; the tools to actively use those images; and a restricted-usage environment that seeks to balance the rights of content providers with the needs and interests of content users.

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