Category — Leadership
Leaves: a lot to the imagination.
There are certain ideas that just capture the public imagination. Councillor Caroline Salmon’s cycle sculpture was one of those. As soon as I saw her Tweet, seeking sponsors for a sculpture to commemorate cycling in Surrey, I was hooked.
On further investigation, the idea was as simple as it was elegant. Local people were being offered the opportunity to buy one of three hundred steel oak leaves that would be assembled to form the figures of two cyclists and positioned near the foot of Box Hill.
My husband and I are keen mountain bikers and cycling is a fundamental part of our lifestyle. It being our fifth wedding anniversary in July, with a theme of steel, Councillor Caroline’s leaf sponsorship scheme was serendipitous. It provided a perfect opportunity to mark our own special occasion by contributing to a wonderful local community project, marking this historic year of the Queen’s diamond jubilee, Bradley Wiggins’ Tour de France victory and the London Olympics.
I clicked through from @CllrCaroline’s Tweet to read more about the project, spoke to the good lady herself and a few weeks later received leaf number 13, just in time for our anniversary.
We were extremely excited to be invited to the unveiling of the sculpture on July 17th, just three days before the Olympic torch was due to be carried through Dorking on its relay route to Guildford and the Tower of London.
Councillor Caroline had organised a reception for the unveiling, dubbed, “lemonade in the layby”. Hearing her speak, I realised that this was a feat of event management that had been timed to perfection.
By her own account, the idea of installing a cycle sculpture had come to Ms Salmon back in November 2011, when she was looking for a way to commemorate the momentous year of 2012, in her role as chairman of Mole Valley District Council.
In the space of five months Caroline Salmon sought and won planning permission for the installation at the Denbies/Pixham Lane roundabout and found the sculptor, Heather Burrell, to carry out the work. She then got to work using local and social media to promote her project.
Marketing experts talk about the four Ps: product, price, placement, promotion. Councillor Caroline’s project had all of these ingredients, which made it such a success.
Product: It pains me to label it so baldly because the sculpture is a thing of beauty, commemorating a truly historic year in British cycling. The oak leaves reflect the local woodland beauty of Surrey, where many rewarding trails for road cyclists and mountain bikers can be found around Hurtwood, Holmbury St Mary, Leith Hill and Box Hill. The sculpture’s slender design recalls the groundbreaking carbon monocoque frame that steered Chris Boardman to glory in 1992.
Price: At just £40 for a leaf, Councillor Caroline offered members of the local community the opportunity to help create something of real beauty that celebrates the sport that can be enjoyed so well in this area and commemorates an historic year for the nation. Contributing to the sculpture was a perfect way to give something back to the area.
Place: Box Hill will form the most arduous section of the Olympic cycle race, with cyclists powering up the incline nine times. The Olympians will cycle by this sculpture, adding to its history.
The Denbies estate, which borders the sculpture, forms part of the epic Dorking Ups and Downs mountain bike route organised by Wiggle and UK Cycling Events, which celebrates everything that the Surrey Hills can offer a cyclist: the burning legs and lungs, the steep, rooty descents and the glorious unrestricted views from the tops of the Downs.
Promotion: Councillor Caroline Salmon is a lady of considerable energy and enthusiasm, who galvanises those around her. Her use of local media, social media and personal contacts in local government enabled her to pull this together in a frighteningly short time frame and ensured that a fantastic idea came to life in time for the London 2012 celebrations.
On this momentous day when London hosts the Olympic Games for the third time in its history, we wish all of our athletes the very best. We will be watching you and supporting you.
July 27, 2012 No Comments
Today Nokia announced its partnership with Microsoft. The Symbian operating system will be dropped in favour of Windows 7. Now commentators are describing the smartphone market as a three horse race between Microsoft, Apple and Google (in spite of the obvious presence of RIM and HP).
The #burning platform memo, which was “leaked” to Engadget earlier this week , created the perfect runway to this momentous announcement. It will go down in history as one of the most important examples of leadership in crisis.
After reading Stephen Elop’s memo, the whole industry turned its focus on Nokia’s Capital Markets Day, with analysts worldwide predicting a tie up with Google or Microsoft.
In the information security industry a leaked memo from a CEO would be viewed as a combined failure of people, policies and technology. The appearance of Elop’s internal communication on Engadget was more akin to an expertly executed pre-pitch, perfectly timed to gain maximum awareness of today’s revelations.
Nokia and Microsoft gained blanket coverage of its partnership announcement.
The full burning platforms memo can be read here:
8th February 6.15pm. Chris Zeigler post on Engadget: http://www.engadget.com/2011/02/08/nokia-ceo-stephen-elop-rallies-troops-in-brutally-honest-burnin/
February 11, 2011 No Comments
This month’s issue of Mountain Bike Rider, MBR, contains an inspiring article on Hope, a British manufacturer of mountain bike components. The article profiles the two founders, Ian Weatherill and Simon Sharp, who began their careers as Rolls Royce apprentices and went on to found a recession-proof business in Yorkshire that is being hailed as potential model for the future of British manufacturing.
The founders’ business model is simple: to make products that people want and sell them for a little bit more than they cost to make. A really interesting point is that Weatherill believes that Hope could make a high end mountain bike in the UK, selling for £2,000, that would compete with mountain bikes produced in Taiwan that sell for £8,000.
Contrast this with this week’s leaked “Burning Platforms” memo, sent by Nokia CEO, Stephen Elop. The memo describes the current “crisis” faced by the handset manufacturer, which has lost market share at both ends of the market: its high end smartphones are not competing with Android and Apple devices and the cheaper handsets are rapidly losing market share in emerging markets to Asian manufacturers such as ZTE and Huawei. Andrew Orlowski commented in the Register, “Every manufacturer faces similar problems when a market becomes a commodity game: the low-cost manufacturers ultimately win. So manufacturers must seek to add value….”
Which brings me back to Hope. It certainly adds value. There is a definite buzz around this company . Customers rave about the YouTube advice videos produced by the Hope team, to guide enthusiasts and bike builders that are fitting Hope components to their dream machines.
Talk to bike shop owners and they get genuinely excited about what Hope is producing. Over and over again I have heard people in the trade provide endorsements such as, “If you call them up they will give you great advice on your bike build”, or, “We know that we can deliver this to you on time, because we’ll put our order in to Hope this week and they’ll just make it, there’s no waiting around”… “Their wheel making machine once broke down and they pulled in everyone in the company who had any experience of making wheels and completed the orders by hand. ”
The MBR article was a superb piece of coverage for a twenty two year old business that conveyed the personality of the company and reflected the values of the founders. The impact of the printed article has been increased because people are discussing it in pubs, cafes and bike shops and are verbally endorsing what has been written about the company.
When you buy a Hope component, you’re get the feeling that you’re not just fitting a piece of precision engineered metal to your bike: you’re endorsing an ethos and you’re supporting British industry. To draw another comparison with the consumer electronics industry, Apple has successfully achieved this with its phones, MP3 players and tablets: you’re not just purchasing a product, you’re buying into a lifestyle.
Hope genuinely engages with its customers and continues to deliver excellent, innovative products, while also adding real value to the buying experience. People speak well of the company because it treats them well and produces great products and that is the basis of good public relations.
February 10, 2011 No Comments