Ponies in the Snow

by cv harquail on February 10, 2010

Heaven help you if you are a business that I care about, even if your business is no business of mine.

201002101504.jpgI just finished up a 24-hour email exchange with the folks at the Virginia Camp where my daughters and I do our mother-daughter riding weekends, and where they’ll be going to camp this summer.

And what was I doing? Offering them unsolicited advice about their marketing strategy.

Specifically,

I want them to send me pictures of Ponies in the Snow.

If they sent me pictures of Ponies in the Snow, they could connect with me and my family in an authentic way. This authentic communication would strengthen not only our relationship with the Camp but also the Camp’s own sense of organizational identity.

An authentic communication between the Camp and their customers would:

1. Communicate who the organization really is and what it values

2. Recognize how we their customers think of them

3. Anticipate and address any concerns we might have about their business

4. in a way that makes us feel connected to them.

How would pictures of Ponies in the Snow create this authentic connection?

1. What makes this camp special and what defines it as an organization is their approach to their horses.  The women here really understand horses. They take great care of their horses and they love them almost but not quite to the point of spoiling them.  Every student learns to care for ‘her’ horse, to get to know her horse as a unique creature, and to establish a good working relationship with her horse.

2. When we think of this camp, we think about the horses. I think about ‘my’ horse Haley (who I ride every time I’m there), while my daughters talk about Tai and Pandora. Each of the horses has his or her own funky personality (which the instructors help you learn), and the more you know the horses the more you love them.

3. Right now, my girls are very concerned about the horses.

The horses don’t spend their winter sheltered in a cosy warm barn. Instead, they hang out in the fields. (For horses, this is fun.)  201002101504.jpgHowever, since December, the part of Virginia where the camp is located has been blasted with snow. Just a few days ago they got another foot.

We are imagining the horses and ponies trudging around in fields covered with two feet of snow. Cold, heavy, cold snow.

4. We want to know that the horses and ponies are okay. Either they’re all in the barns together until the snow clears or — even better– they’re kicking up their heels in the drifts.

Later today (or maybe tomorrow, since it’s snowing) they’re going to send me some photos so we can see how all the horses are doing.

[Later: Turns out they have a Facebook page, now with lots of photos of the snow, the drifts, and the horses. Why didn’t I think of that?]

I can’t wait to see all our favorite ponies in the snow!

shrek possum forte

Where are the carrots? from Steffe and Horses Grazing in the Snow from Steve Carlton , on Flickr

And LOOK! I got some pony pictures! It’s Shrek, Possum & Forte!

{ 1 comment }

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