Typical View – there’s water everywhere

USPJust back from a short hop to Stockholm. I’ve admired Sweden from a distance over many years but never got to see it up close and personal. The city is magic. Set on 14 islands, the architecture gives the place a feeling of coordinated beauty, with public and private buildings built on a grand scale.  They either have a great planning system, a desperate shortage of brown envelopes, or both.

The Palace where a huge crowd attended to celebrate the Kings 40th anniversary. While there we witnessed an outbreak of spontaneous happiness with people dancing in the street to celebrate his coronation anniversary. Regardless of whether you’re a Royalist or a Republican – it’s hard not to be impressed by thousands of couples jiving – without a drink in sight.  If my back hadn’t been acting up, I might even have ‘shaken a leg’ myself – being surrounded by all those statuesque blonds (the women were good-looking too).

Pulling open the door of a disabled toilet in a Museum to let my wife run in for a swift visit (all the regular loos were occupied) to discover that this one was actually in use, just unlocked.  I’m not sure who was more embarrassed – the lady using the toilet or myself. Following a strategic retreat, it’s lucky I’m not penning this blog from solitary confinement somewhere in the Arctic Circle.  As a consequence, I’ve made a life-changing decision. Linda can find her own toilets in future and that’s final!

Small Hotel:
We stayed in a small hotel, the Nordic Sea. It’s set in a great location (200 metres from the airport shuttle) but is otherwise unremarkable.  Except for one thing. The hotel houses the original ‘Ice Bar’. This is a very cold room (air temperature kept permanently at 50 centigrade) from which they sell truckloads of vodka. At €18 a shot we didn’t stay too long, but it was great fun climbing into all the gear and taking stupid photos.  For the 3 nights we stayed in the hotel, that bar was packed every night.

Isn’t marketing a wonderful science? You take something ordinary (e.g. a hotel) and turn it into something extraordinary (a hotel with a built-in ICE bar experience). It’s almost on par with a makey-up birthday for Arthur Guinness or discovering an 8th cousin in Moneygall for Barack Obama (a blood relationship that most of us didn’t even know existed).  Inspired!

Copy Exact:
In terms of raw intelligence or technical ability, most of us come in a fairly standard package. Perhaps, I’m underestimating your ability as a math savant or deriding the fact that you are gifted in some other exotic way.  But more likely, you are ‘smart but pretty ordinary’ – just like the rest of us.  If that’s the case, the trick is to figure out one outstanding feature, something that you will bring to the party that’s special.  Perhaps it will be innovation, cutting edge ideas, blue-sky thinking? Or getting things done? (there’s always a market for someone who delivers).  Maybe it’s high emotional intelligence, building sustainable relationships with customers and staff? You get the point.

The Good News is that you decide what it is that you’re great at (or will be great at in the near future). The Bad News is that if you can’t figure it out, no-one else will be able to figure it out either. Because, without the magic – ordinary hotels and ordinary executives – are grey, anonymous, even a little bit boring.  In contrast, defining your USP is a recipe for success. Now, go figure.



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