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CA Tourism Symposium, Dave Norton & Island Dreams

February 25, 2009


When I heard about the Best Job in the World as Island Caretaker on the Great Barrier Reef, I was attending the 5th Annual California Cultural Tourism Symposium at the Pierpont Inn in Ventura which just happens to be around the block from my house, has views of the Channel Islands, and is a staging area for whale watching boat tours and scuba trips.

I thought at the time that the Best Job in The World has got to be the best tourism marketing campaign EVER, and I wondered what all I would learn about viral marketing, social media and myself as I went through the process of creating a video and applying for the job.

Well, here I am, just a few days away from hearing whether my application video scored me a spot in the Top 50, hanging around a ning with a bunch of travel writers, adventure buffs, and the tech savvy all clamoring “Pick me! Pick me!” in whatever ways they can figure out from blogs to websites to ads to twitter to facebook. Look, even I am on facebook and twitter now!

So I thought I’d reflect a little on what I learned from the Tourism Symposium and see how it applies to my experience with the Island Reef Job, and tourism in general with the hope that this will be of value to others as well.

I took the most notes from Dave Norton‘s insightful talk  ( and will post those first, then a second post with info from other sessions.


Overview: Recessions create change. They are catalysts for changes in consumer behavior, for innovation, and for new approaches to branding. Consumer behavior for the forseeable future has shifted once again. Because this recession was caused by a financial crisis that drove consumers to continually anticipate very bad scenarios for themselves, they will be very wary of brands that over-promise and under-deliver. You will have to work harder for their trust. They will prefer brands that they believe can actually make them happier. There’s nothing like a crisis of anticipation to leave people hungering for things that make them happy.

Brand image: promise making
Brand experience: promise keeping
Brand truth: promise making
Recession: a catalyst for change

So is where we’re headed now back to promise keeping?
Looking to brands to keep their promises?

Brands promise happiness

Trend toward making choices about happiness vs status
How do you deliver happiness to your target audience?
The more focused on money the less satisfied with life–
Consumers aren’t buying that if you buy the car you get the girl!

Hedonic research: how do you make people happier?

Average income has gone up but the average number of very happy people is the same.
Consumers have been on the hedonic treadmill collecting stuff and money and it collapses:
People are stepping off the treadmill
So how will they prioritize spending? On what will really make us happy.

Better not be a promise!

To deliver: social, emotional, functional, jobs; design disposition
Clayton Christensen: disruptive innovation the innovators dilemna the innovators solution
what’s the job the consumer needs to get done?  you have to deliver that

The part of the brain that does anticipation does happiness

Marketers develop fantasy …dissatisfied for self

Happiness is social

Consumers don’t care about generating buzz-they care about spreading happiness, sharing happiness

Principles for customer happiness

Social job: membership help them express selves through others
Emotional job: a mentality focus on their positive reality
Functional job: the mind–help them to not anticipate their happiness

You can promise but can you deliver??

(sorry this next part didn’t transform from the diagram to the blog!)
Higher purposed AIM
Transformative        alturistic
Within self                    helps others                        LOCUS                                through others
Perceptive    utilitarian
(not thinking)
Physical /sensorial

4 types of happiness you can have:

perceptive design: help people to feel positive emotions
stimulus, reflection, newness adaptation–circle

utilitarian design: maximizes pleasure from staged experience
stimulus> dramatic action> newness (pleasure)

transformative design: helps improve through goal attainment and epiphany
goal that elevates> current st

altruistic design: helps accomplish something important
agreed to common cause
common cause, personal prep, facilitated encounter, gift giving, reconnection

makes a promise/keeps a promise

share the joy: social job
feel the similarities: emotional job
create symmetry: functional job
focus on perceptive & altruistic: design disposition

joy is a reflection of experience
over time all functional jobs become social jobs
stone mantel example

web is moving from functional to social purpose-how to make biz help

4 things:
1. find new emotional and social jobs your customers want
2. turn jobs into gifts: cultural capital is exchanged through gifting.
3. take a stand on something: what do you stand for? How is your higher purpose different than your competitors?
4. stage a sequence of events: help people accomplish new emotional jobs in a way that expresses your brand
creating a gift vs a transaction
facilitate gift giving
second life: express their identity through a second job

change marketing to experiential?

Social networking-ethical line here? Can we be too manipulative?
Remember all 5 senses to help people experience something

NOTE TO SELF: Read the experience economy

One Comment leave one →
  1. February 27, 2009 8:41 pm

    Web is moving from functional to social purpose. Hmm perhaps a little over simple. Function of the social purpose? Transmission on the idea.

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