Waterstone's the booksellers have just about got it spot on with this 'What's Your Story' campaign.
To celebrate the National UK Reading Year they are challenging budding writers to compose a short story and submit it to the Wys site.
The best entries are being published in an online gallery and in stores - alongside a collection of specially commisioned stories written by some top authors.
3 winning stories will be published in a postcard book alonside the 'real' authors including Doris Lessing, Michael Rosen, Nick Hornby, Sebastian Faulks, Lauren Child, Tom Stoppard and Irvine Welsh and of course...
JK Rowling, who has supplied an exclusive 800-word, hand-written prequel to the Harry Potter series.
Value, content, participation, community, partnership, branding.
I've been debating with a few twitter buddies whether the likes of Amazon have the same ability to generate that fuzzy feeling around their brand as the likes of Waterstones.
In the book market I will always prefer to shop with Waterstones if I can rather than Amazon. Why? Because of stuff like this. The cold aggregation of the likes of Amazon doesn't tickle me.
OK there's the long tail and the user reviews, the super fast service etc- but I find something more re-assuring about a brand that actually 'cares' about it's product.
Half of the staff are authors.
And actively working for good in the community - Neil Perkin talks about this here - kind of inspired this post.
Plus they are British...
The campaign and microsite was developed by Manchester digital agency Code Computerlove
Friday, May 30, 2008
Thursday, May 29, 2008
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
On a recent jaunt to Edinburgh I stayed at the Malmaison by Leith docks.
First off, it's about 15 years since I've been round Leith, what a change.
Back in the day it was a bit of a no-go area but it's now been 'regenerated'- lots of nice bars and restaurants and half a million quid apartments etc.
A couple of things made my stay worth remarking upon.
All Malmaison hotels offer free, gratis broadband in the rooms. So what? I hear you say. Well try getting free web access in any other hotel chain. Unlikely.
In the bathroom theres a wee sign beside all the toiletries - posh body wash, moisturising pads, breath freshner, the lot - saying 'please take these away with you'.
Everyone nabs the bits from the bathroom in hotels anyway, but a nice touch to say 'go ahead'. Power showers too. Theres nothing worse than the dribbly weak showers you often encounter in hotels.
I ordered dinner in my room - posh burger and chips - the chips come in a tall cup thing wrapped in Malmaison greaseproof paper. A little design touch that tickled me.
I also loved the milk jugs at breakfast, it's a tall vase shaped white jug with 'cow' spots printed on it.
I could have stayed at the Holiday Inn accross the road and it would have been perfectly acceptable, but i would not have mentioned it to anyone after.
It's the micro-touches that make an experience worth talking about.
Good enough is no longer good enough, it needs to be better than that.
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Here's a tip for you.
Don't let your domain expire, as I have just done.
I received several reminder emails from my hosting service, the latest one last week warned me that it would expire within 25 days.
So today I find that its gone already! Thats well within the 25 days. They don't mess about.
I've paid up and the site will be back within 24 hours, however anyone who attemps to go there during these 24 hours is going to mark me down. Lesson learned.
Thursday, May 08, 2008
Belated congratulations to Dan from the way of the web aka @badgergravling on the arrival of baby Oscar the other week. A new recruit for the twitter junior section?
Also I'm due him a link as his technorati rank has crashed since shifting his blog about.
Saturday, May 03, 2008
I rave about gohomeproductions all the time here. Maybe there's some sort of affinity as I'm a former Watford resident myself.
Despite recently announcing his retirement from the bootleg business to concentrate on 'proper' tracks he's done a new collection of 11 mash-ups 'Spliced Crispies'.
This time theres videos to go along with them.
My personal favourite is the Ce Ce Penniston/Sex Pistols fusion 'Finally Did you no wrong'. see below.
Friday, May 02, 2008
When I'm having those HEAD>BRICK WALL moments I'm always glad of this nugget from author and historian David Landes...
'In this world the optimists have it, not because they are always right but because they are always positive. Even when wrong, they are positive...and that is the way to achievement'