Identity Crisis - Talton Lodge & Talton House
In the age of the apprentice you are supposed to tell everyone how brilliant you are but what’s wrong with getting on with what you do and letting people make their own mind’s up? Understatement may be old fashioned but it beats bragging or hyperbole and most would agree that secrets are better than lies.
Some days I imagine conversations;
“Apparently there’s this place called Talton lodge in Newbold where you can stay. There’s a Manor House, a boathouse, a wagon, wiggy wom and some yuts”
“Is there? I live in Newbold. Are you sure you’re not thinking of Talton mill Farm shop and the Sea Scout Hut? I am sure Holby doesn’t keep wiggy woms and yuts which don’t sound edible, let alone tasty.”
“No- no” goes the imagined conversation “my cousin’s brother in law got married there in a giant witch’s hat and ate a wood fired spit roast pig” or “ Jack who plays in Josh’s footy team did a residential there and actually stayed in a yurt, cooked pizzas in a wood fired pizza oven and sang songs around a bonfire” “My friend went to a ceildh and ate haggis there on burn’s night and it tasted really surprisingly delicious” or “ my friend who works for Jaguar Landrover had a conference there, apparently they do a top Caipirinha cocktail”
After the imaginings, I wonder whether we oughtn’t to get our marketing straightened out. I mean currently Talton Lodge just sounds like a rumour or a poorly kept secret. Then I think; well…. all that hearsay does at least sow intrigue. I mean you’d want to know if the mystical place in the village where you live does exist wouldn’t you? Perhaps you’d be piqued enough to tap Talton lodge into Google Earth over your morning coffee? If you did you’d find Google conspiring in the secrecy. Last time I looked the satellite images show a muddy walled garden with pig arcs, vegetable plots and a trampoline in it. If you were a historian you might even deduce from the photographs that it is a walled garden that actually dates back to at least the 1830s but you’d never know that you could stay there now.
The pondering has led me to entrust Talton Lodge to Cartesian philosophy instead of a Marketing strategy: We think we exist therefore we must do. One good thing about Descartes is that if you’d rather think we don’t exist then we won’t exist for you.
Behind all the gibberish lurks a business point: It’s important for your marketing to accurately reflect people’s experience of what you are and who you are. Therefore I conclude that since Talton Lodge has an identity crisis and is a different thing to different people; a wedding venue, a manor house, a walled garden, a quirky camp site, a birthday venue, a place for family gatherings, brownie camps, school residentials, leadership courses, sausage courses, corporate meetings or fundraisers, dancing or dining, hot tubbing, archery or reverse steer golf buggy driving, it’d be dangerous to market it in a way that jars with people’s actual experience of it (like changing gear without a clutch). The question is; does it count as a marketing strategy when you decide to let people come, define their own experience and tell other people what they did and what they thought so that maybe enough people will be interested to ask if we can create an experience for them?
I’m comfortable with the identify crisis if you are. We plan to keep Talton Lodge a badly kept secret. So spread the rumours or, if you prefer, just keep thinking we don’t exist – we won’t tell anyone except the people reading this article and we might have a website if you look carefully: www.taltonlodge.com.