Some people say it’s just rock ‘n’ roll

Today I realized that if it’s not in Facebook / Twitter / Instagram, it doesn’t exist for me. I have this “no advertisement, please” sing on my door and I do not read any local newspapers (for the lack of time and for no editorial quality worth paying ) so all the services, restaurants, happenings etc. near me must be digital, or I do not know anything about them.

I guess that makes me a typical millennial / nomad then. I also have a personal trainer in my phone and if I’d like, Siri would every night wish me good night. Btw, he already performs quite well as a personal assistant, updating my calendar and reminding of where, when and why I should be somewhere. With a perfect British accent.

Wicked. It’s like back to the future in the future.


Tajusin tänään, että jos lähiseudun palvelu / ravintola / kauppa / tapahtuma ei ole internetissä (Facebook lähinnä), sitä ei ole minulle olemassakaan. Ovessani on “ei mainoksia” kyltti, enkä tilaa paikallislehtiä tai omista sellaisia paikallisia ystäviä, jotka voisivat jakaa ajankohtaista tietoa uusimmista ravintoloista, kaupoista, tarjouksista tai edes aukioloajoista. Tarkistan siis netistä  Googlesta; mitä tapahtuu, missä tapahtuu, ja milloin.

Lisäksi puhelimessani asuu personal trainer ja Siri voisi halutessani toivottaa minulle joka ilta Hyvää yötä. Jo nyt hän toimii ihan hyvänä henkilökohtaisena assistenttina, päivittäen kalenterini automaattisesti ja huolehtien että olen siellä missä pitäisi, silloin kuin pitäisi, tietoisena siitä miksi.

Kyllä, käytän puhelinta todella paljon. Mutta toisaalta, käyttäisin kaikkea muuta vielä enemmän, jos puhelin ei olisi helpottamassa arkeani.

Photo: Romsdal 2012

Does Finland ever learn?

Visit Finland made a film. In cooperation with Finnair. It’s their newest marketing film for the Asian markets, published last week. Unfortunately, with this film VF managed to fail big time. Or maybe not really big time, since the film would be more than ok and make its point clear even without the fail moments. Without those, it might even get ***** from me.

After publishing, it didn’t take long  for the Sami in Finland to point out that the way their culture is presented in the film is not respectful, nor acceptable. It might not be clear for someone outside Lapland, but for someone who’s lived there and seen the struggle, the problem with this film is pretty obvious.

In general, the film is ok. As a tourism researcher and marketing professional, I see the potential. I also like the sceneries, because, hey, that’s my “home” and I can easily associate myself with the blonde girl skiing in the mountais. But. The way Visit Finland presents Sami culture in this film… One could say its pure exploitation. Watching the film over and over and trying to ask (in Twitter, with no success) why they chose to do it this way and why they do not see the point taking the film down or modify it (what I’d expect a organization sensitive about its brand and image would do) it becomes clear that Visit Finland do not respect the culture nor want to take constructive role in its working environment and among its stakeholders.

The discussion has been there for years, the discussion about the way Sami and other minority cultures, aboriginals etc. are exploited in disrespectful manner by the tourism industry and “outsiders” in general, and how this should be stopped and how the practices should be changed. About how their voice should be heard and views taken into account, if and when they are used in marketing and tourism, by the industry and for the industry. These days, we they really should know how to do it and why to do it that way and not this way.

Visit Finland is an integral part of Finpro, a registered association almost 100 per cent funded by the Finnish Government. Finpro helps Finnish SME companies that represent a multitude of lines of industry and business. The aim is to help companies attract foreign investments to Finland, become more international in their line of work and, more recently, promote Finland as an attractive tourist destination to a world-wide audience.

Finland is a unique, non-mainstream holiday choice. It is, in an exceptional way, a passionate and uncompromising country. Visit Finland works to increase awareness of Finland as a tourist destination, especially among modern humanists.

Visit Finland

Ok,VF values do not include respectful, nor culturally aware, nor sustainable. So, maybe we should just accept that this is the way they like their brand to be – ignorant and disrespectful. And while we talk about organization funded by our government, we could say that this is the way our country would like to be seen. This is the image they want to present to the public. Sad.

It makes me wonder, if and when VF continues to repeat the same mistakes over and over, how can they expect the tourism industry to be respected and supported by other industries, environments and communities in which it operates. How does it expect the modern humanists, which it says it’s targeting with the activities, to reflect on this not so responsible practice.

The marketing activities are targeted towards modern humanists. Modern humanists have already seen the world’s metropolises. They appreciate quality of life, pure nature and responsibility. That is exactly what Finland offers.

Visit Finland

Responsibility. “This is exactly what Finland offers.” Does it? Does it really? Because it doesn’t really show, at least not in this video.Respect and understanding are very important elements of sustainable tourism development. If and when you want to be constructive, you should respect the ones you are working with and from which you want to benefit. Or does VF really think that it can just take something this way, without giving anything back?

Investing in sustainability is both morally and socio-economically the right thing to do. It will also be commercially profitable.

Innovasjon Norge

While the discussion around this video was going on and tweets shared (unfortunately in Finnish only) Visit Finland expressed that their Twitter account is only for marketing purposes and they’d continue the discussion only through email. Second fail I’d say. If and when the harm is done and discussion goes on, organization should definitely not step back and stay silent. Especially if and when it’s an public organization, with public responsibilities and us citizens as stakeholders. So please Visit Finland, make sense not war.

In the end, after all this critique, I would like to highlight organizations, which do know how to do it right. Well done Australia and Norway.

Australia’s Indigenous experiences are a unique and important part of our tourism offering,” said John O’Sullivan, managing director of Tourism Australia, in the launch statement. “We’re confident this new short film, and our plans to make sure it is widely distributed both in Australia and overseas, will help promote this important facet of Australian tourism.

Tourism Australia chose two local directors to develop the video, including Warwick Thornton, whose mother was Aboriginal, and Brendan Fletcher, whose film “Mad Bastards” centers around an Aboriginal man living in Western Australia.

On Fletcher’s personal website, the “About” page reads: “Brendan’s films are usually about something… with social issues that affect us all. These films give voice to communities who often struggle to have their voice heard by mainstream media.”

Skift

Snapchat crush

I can’t help it. I’m totally hooked to Snapchat. Why? Simply, i’m a millennial, it’s entertaining and makes communication more impulsive and relaxed, compared to i.e. Instagram (which is also great, but for different reasons).

Generation Y and Z are now becoming accustomed to communicating mainly in photos and videos, quickly and instantly. And with the Our Story feature, they are watching live events from the perspective of the attendees—not mass media

– Michelle Grant, Skift / Euromonitor November 13th 2014

Snapchat is certainly the first really influential virtual travel application out there. If and when I would need want to showcase and raise awareness of my brand, be it myself, my destination, company, happening or whatever right now, Snapchat would my choice.

In example, following the advice written down by John Freeeman from DestinationThink!, DMO’s could use Snapchat as a mobile visitors centre, as a narrative, as a game, as a means to engage younger generation (important note: I was persuaded to the app by a bunch of 40+ people, so it’s not all about millennials..) and as a reward. It can be easily adjusted to your personal or organizational needs, with little effort.

Snapchat’s stories entice Millennials to see what locals experience, and the least travel brands can do on this platform is watch, learn, and iterate.
— Joyce Manalo, Skift July 16th, 2015

Personally, I have been virtually following Bagpipe World Champs, wandering the charming streets of Ghent and celebrating the Pakistani Independence Day, without leaving my bed (physically).  How great is that!? Moreover, I am more than ready to use the app in those official, professional occasions (public administration, when do you catch up with the digital era!?). Right now, suffering from serious homesickness, I would also welcome i.e. Lapland and National Park Stories in Snapchat.

The storytelling arc of “City Life” makes it surprisingly inspiring to perhaps consider it as a future travel destination.

City Life and events are a window into how the younger Millennials are communicating what excites them the most about their lives. Travel brands should pay attention and figure out how to greet them with snaps of fun places to eat, drink, see, and stay.

So if you’d ask me what’s the hottest thing in alternative travel, media and communications right now, I’d say it’s Snapchat. There’s even some statistics to it.

Ounasvaara


Muutama vuosi sitten yliopistolla kiersi huhu, jonka mukaan opiskelijan graduaihetta ei hyväksytty, koska professorimme ei ymmärtänyt mitä sillä tarkoitetaan tai varsinkaan sen potentiaalia matkailuympäristössä. Viime aikoina olen miettinyt tätä usein, sekä Instagramin kohdalla että vaeltaessani virtuaalisesti Gentin katuja, seuratessani Pakistanin itsenäisyyspäiväjuhlintaa tai säkkipillinsoiton MM-kisoja, poistumatta mihinkään omasta sängystäni. Snapchat on osoittanut olevansa se virtuaalimatkailupalvelu, jollaisista kirjoitettiin lyhyin lausein kurssikirjojemme “matkailun tulevaisuus” kappaleissa.

Snapchat on sosiaalinen media ja kommunikaatiokanava aplikaatioon sisäänrakennettuna, mutta myös paljon muuta. Snapchatin avulla kuka tahansa tai mikä tahansa, yritys, virasto (terkkuja Verohallinto, peukku rohkeudesta!), matkailukohde jne. voi luoda itselleen oman multimediakanavan monine käyttötarkoituksineen ja -tapoineen. Se mahdollistaa markkinointikampanjat, brändin rakennuksen ja tietoisuuden kasvattamisen, sekä yksinkertaisimmillaan viihdyttävien ja/tai puhtaan informatiivisten viestien välittämisen, vaivattomasti ja spontaanisti.

Tällä hetkellä seuraisin mielelläni sekä matkailijana että koti-ikävästä kärsivänä nostalgikkona Snapchat- tarinoita Lapista ja kansallispuistoista,  kasvattaen samalla valmiutta ja motivaatiota sijoittaa tarvittavat suuret summat rahaa ruskaretkeen kotiseuduille (välähdys pulahduksesta tunturilampeen keskiyön auringossa saisi minut mitä luultavimmin heittämään puhelimen pikimiten laukkuun ja suuntaamaan kiireen vilkkaa äkkilähtötiskille). Valitettavasti näyttää kuitenkin siltä, että myös Snapchatin käytössä suomalaiset matkailutoimijat ovat valovuosia jäljessä ulkomaisia kilpailijoitaan. Mutta onneksi minulla on ystäviä, jotka pro bono tarjoavat henkilökohtaisia virtuaalikierroksia mm. Kalifornian hienoimmille surffirannoille. Lappilaisten aktivoitumista odotellessa…

Gold is the new white

Apple launched a new Macbook. And there’s Northern Lights at 01:20 (design film) which reminded me of the conversation we had in Iceland about how Space Tourism might affect Northern Lights Tourism development. Well, now you can just buy a new Macbook and experience it from your couch.

Instagram I love you

… especially when it comes to today’s branding, tourism business and marketing. Just look at Icelandair! While collecting data for my Master’s thesis (Actor-Networks of Northern Lights Tourism in Iceland, Norway and Finland) I got to know Icelandic tourism industry and their very innovative, fresh and bold take on i.e. social media marketing, corporate communications and promotion of Iceland as a destination.* And look at this Instagram feed now! How many airlines do this? And so well? With their corporate brand especially, not just with Insta-ambassadors / cabin crew on Instagram, in example.** Icelandair feed looks amazing and apparently has a very high requirements when it comes to quality. Taggs are also well chosen, simple and effective. At least I start to think, after browsing this feed, that Icelandair as a company and brand is up-to-date quality airline, and that Iceland is definitely worth a visit. Or two. And don’t even let me start with their Hekla Aurora…. It makes me eager to fly back to Iceland, with Icelandair selvfølgelig, to see the Northern Lights (wasn’t lucky enough last time) and experience the country and its tourism offerings.

What I would do if I would be an airline? I would do like Icelandair or hire myself to do it on my behalf. Especially I am looking at you, our own national airline Finnair, which still seems to think that people only want to fly away from Finland. Even though we do have the same Northern Lights as Iceland. And Santa.

*The vision of Icelandair Group is to unlock Iceland‘s potential as a year-round destination, to strengthen Iceland‘s position as a connecting hub and to maintain our focus on flexibility and experience. Icelandair

** For a nice piece on Insta-ambassadors and why you should use them for tourism and destination marketing, look at Visit Sørlandet’s post here. Unfortunately it’s only in norwegian.