This past Canada Day I did what most Canadians do on long weekends—I went camping. My wife and I packed our little car with as much gear as humanly possible and hit the road, no cell phones, no e-mail, no Facebook or any other form of communications that really didn’t exist twenty years ago but now we feel lost without. We spent four days disconnected from everything outside of fishing, campfires and marshmallows. When I arrived back in the office on Monday it dawned on me that we have been away more weekends than we have stayed at home since the summer holidays began. Also that this is not uncommon for most fellow Yukoners during the summer months of endless daylight.

So from a communications perspective, how do we continue to reach our audiences and deliver messages during these tough summer months? and what opportunities are we missing out on?

The first thing I noticed is that each time I return from a camping weekend, I empty my mailbox and go through my Friday mail much more carefully than normal, reading each piece of direct ad mail. I think this is because after staring at campfires for three days, I have become accustomed to mindless activities. That being said, I am suggesting that with the right message or product, timed appropriately, direct mail can still have a place during our summer months.

Summer also means people like to slow down, at home and at work. Slowing down can translate into more time for reading. Therefore target audiences of company blogs, followers of newsletters and even those on Twitter have more time for reading. During the summer months you can really reconnect with an audience or build on already developed relationships by spicing things up and staying consistent with online written communications.

Companies and organizations tend to slow down as well during the summer or at least tend to be a little more laid back. Now is the time to engage stakeholders or partners in preparation for any fall communications you have coming. This could be in the form of short discussions or events and functions designed to entice stakeholders to attend.

One cannot forget that when delivering any type of message from your company, your own staff are your biggest ambassadors for your brand. The summer months present a perfect opportunity to work on internal communications. Strengthen your brand from within so that everyone in your company or organization is speaking the same language and delivering your message better than you could yourself.

These are just some ideas that go through my head while trying to master that perfect s’more. Maybe you have some thoughts or strategies that work for you during the summer months?



by Geof Harries

Customer communications don’t necessarily need to come in the form of a one-way message. I’d take a different path and focus on building relationships + providing value to customers through a brand experience that does something for them.

Since many mobile devices - iPod Touch, iPhone, iPad, Android, Blackberry - have a store where customers can download apps that work offline, companies can create software that people can use while camping. All of the above mentioned devices are able to do so.

While I’m not a big advocate of using technology while camping - in fact, it’s the perfect opportunity to unplug - there’s plenty of folks who feel otherwise. If you look at a branded app like Clorox myStain it allows people to easily find out how to remove all sorts of different stains. Simple, but powerful in the right setting, like camping.

There’s thousands of other examples of branded digital experiences like the Clorox app, all of which provide direct, perceivable value to the person using them.


by Corey

Thanks for the comments Geof and the insight. I think you make some great points on building relationships and adding customer value. I don’t even like to turn the car stereo on while I’m camping let alone use apps on my iPhone :) But as you said there are people out there who do and will find great value in camping related apps.


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