Connecting with people - A trip to Gleneagles in Scotland
"Real life happens in the physical world, and it can be enhanced with virtual interactions but it cannot be replaced by them…for the time being" - This is our belief.
We thought we could stay on the theme about “creating personal connections first”, that we started a few blog posts ago.
The most important aspect of an online community is the …community itself; the members of a community should not see it as just a ‘project’ but a chance to connect. It is only when people have a connection, that they can be more open, honest and creative. This simple practice goes ignored in traditional market research, probably due to the lack of flexibility and adaptability in current ad-hoc market research studies. Market research has to break out of this rigidity if it is to be taken to the next-level. Co-creation, brand advocacy or even retention cannot be achieved if we treat research participants or community members as test subjects. We always strongly advise our end-clients, to be as hands-on and relatable as possible, from physical meet and greets to virtual engagements; in order to understand the ‘customer’ (the main impetus of market research), you have to first understand the ‘person’.
We also believe that the more we give of ‘us’ (as human beings) in online content, the higher the probability to capture the curiosity of a reader and consequently their engaged reading of the whole article increases. One of the July weekends was a special one for Michalis (referred to as M) so even though it may not seem directly related to marketing and online market research, we decided to give it a go… see where it takes us.
Let us first explain why the weekend was so special; we will provide a bulleted list of reasons, not in any particular order:
- because a very close friend was getting married at the Gleneagles Hotel
- since the establishment of DigitalMR in 2010, M and his wife have not been on proper vacation so the occasional long weekends are very special for them
- the Gleneagles Hotel is owned by DIAGEO, a company very close to M for more than one reasons, one of them being that their son works for them in Digital Marketing
- it was going to be a train ride from London to Gleneagles
- hawk-hunting could be experienced
- M was going to wear a kilt for the first time
People travelled from all corners of the world for this wedding, the countries that were prominently represented were: Australia, Bolivia, USA, Texas (they like to think they are special :)), Canada, India and of course Cyprus (which is where M and his wife come from). What really touched him during this two day celebration of the wedding was the special relationship the wedded couple had with the dog…it even delivered the rings when the priest asked for them. Also, the fact that the bride was given away by her Mum (i.e. no Dad around) added a sad note and made the already beautiful ceremony more emotionally impactful to those present.
Having the ability to stay connected with email and social media 24/7 is a must, it should be a personal choice to disconnect, it should not be imposed; M thought the train ride with East Coast was going to provide this choice (of connection) as advertised but they did a very poor job. Also their service was horrible and their ticketing system is primitive; M had to buy a second return ticket for £433 for the two of them because their original tickets were lost and there was no way to re-issue them!!!! He is still fuming about this, social media is a great place to vent; watch him over the next few days.
Sharing knowledge is part of the social media function and we are not doing enough of this so here are some titbits of information that relate to Gleneagles:
- There are no eagles in Gleneagles :)
- This is where the Ryder Cup takes place one of the most prominent golf tournaments in the world
- Putin, George Bush Junior, Blair etc. met there in 2005 for a G8 meeting
To some, we think that this blog post still may be failing to answer the “So What?” question and as we write all this, we are wracking our brains to find more relevance for: social media, online marketing, online market research or even customer advocacy relevance to justify publishing this post on a social media research and marketing blog. These thoughts bring us back to the SEO concerns in our last post, we wonder how the Google algorithm will “feel” about this post :)?
What do you think? Is it ok to share life-stuff on a professional blog? While reading this were you thinking: “What do I care?” Or “nice to get to know one of the authors better and develop a human connection”?
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