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Saturday, December 30, 2006

The more things change...

The Private sector umbrella organisation in Dominica invited us to join. The DAIC has admirable goals like any chamber of commerce. However, when we join we will do so with a level of objection as to the way the DAIC is doing things. At present the DAIC has taken over the management of a now absentee company, called Visions and Concepts which managed a portfolio of benches and bus shelters for advertising.

The DAIC, yes, the umbrella organisation for private sector companies, is deriving revenue from selling ad space. FreeStyle Inc, FSI Creative, one of the companies in which I am a director, is the primary ad agency on island and Visions and Concepts used to be our competition for OOH.

One of the members of the DAIC board, who owns a printing business is also managing the V&C account from within the DAIC. Of course he must get something from it. Lots of printing for benches to be done if it works ok. The DAIC takes a commission and the business sector just motors along.

There is something seriously rotten about that kind of thing.

In most countries the private sector organisations raise funds from memberships and from events (dinners, speeches, hosted tradeshows) etc. In Dominica, the DAIC is also functioning as a revenue earner through competitive venture. Why would FSI join and then be faced with competition from its own umbrella body ?

They need to cut V&C loose to be bought or to die by an entrepeneur. In the meantime we will continue to see these organisations as a talking shop for buddies.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

No Respect (Part Deux)

Multinational companies dont pay the Caribbean consumer any respect. How do I know ? Look at the advertising. What usually happens is that local distributors are given the marketing budget and in the main misuse it. Coca Cola are lucky that Pepsi has missed a trick through most of the Caribbean. Why ? Coca cola are only the market leader through external marketing imagery and the continued presence of product on the ground, WITHOUT a credible competitor. Even if Pepsi were to export product to our small islands and 'can' the advertising they'd clean up.

When you consider that Caribbean people punch way over their weight its actually insulting. There is no way Digicel could have become a giant anywhere else in the world that quickly. What it has shown is that if you target the Caribbean consumer specifically that you can gain dominant market position regionally. Of course the telecoms market is different. The ARPU (avg revenue per user) position is not really an overrriding concern for Digicel. Just a dominant numbers position is being sought early on. Potential buyers will have the mental work of how to turn those numbers into a revenue positive position across the board. But Digicel has shown the way in terms of actually deploying a model targetted at the Caribbean consumer, no matter what the real morality is underlying that effort. After all it is business.

But seeing that advertising mirrors marketing or at least tries to play it up, it shows you that imported chicken isnt the only substandard product which finds our shores. I would love to see some multinational, be it LG or Pepsi or Starbucks or someone credible actually show Digicel type interest in dominating a product or service in this region. They'd be surprised by both the related kickback into their ethnic market perceptions (and revenue) in first world markets and also the kind of revenue they can make from intelligent delivery of quality to Caribbean people. It can work.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006


Been real busy over the last few weeks. Was in NY and kinda getting a real eyeful of what is one constant blast of commercialism. I wonder if advertising works anymore in these markets. Maybe having a good customer experience is worth its weight in gold.

Just completing the joining of a global ad agency network. No ...we were not bought over. Anyway its always interesting having to deal with perceptions of what someone is supposed to be doing in Dominica. Professionally I have never had probs once people actually understand my knowledge base. But the why we are here I guess is natural. An economic engine this lil place isnt.

I dont know how to handle christmas anymore. Its a nice time to hang with the family and its great to see children happy, but so many people go broke for this feast of excess.