Thursday, 20 September 2012

Boots USA

I've spent the day with the Boots USA team - these are the guys that are charged with distributing and marketing certain Boots branded products in the US - products like No7, Botanics, Expert and Extracts.  They're based in Norwalk, CT so I jumped into my enormous minivan hire-car this morning just before 8am to do the 90 minute drive down. 

I stayed last night with a great family in South Glastonbury in rural Connecticut.  I found this place to stay through
Servas (you can read a bit more about this at my previous post - A Place To Lay My Head).  Lisa and Wayne are my hosts along with their teenage son, Noah.  They are so warm and welcoming, I couldn't have asked for more from them.  A great chat over dinner and bottle of wine about the latest political happenings in the Presidential race (Romney's "47% comment" is getting a lot of play here - I wonder if it is in the UK?).  

Anyway, the day with the US Boots team was incredibly inspiring.  I met pretty much the whole team (which is only perhaps a dozen strong) and I was really impressed with the way that they represent the Boots brand so passionately and clearly when they're based thousands of miles away from Nottingham and the home of the brand.  A few randoms thoughts that I jotted down during the day;

  1. If you've got a brand that is truly customer-centric then it can easily cross borders - womens' beauty needs are pretty universal
  2. The passion that I saw came from experiencing the using the products - none of the people I spoke to knew about Boots before they started working here but could all talk from the heart about how great the products were and how important the trust and heritage that the Boots brand represents are.  
  3. Someone said to me before I came on this trip that the American people are generally, 'hard-wired to help' and I really experienced that today - a whole fay of meetings and interactions set up for someone they'd never met before and who they had no expectation of anything back in return.  
The US focused website is here - gives a good flavour of the way that the UK marketing materials are translated to a similar but different audience.  

The driving to get to and from Norwalk was OK - the minivan I'm driving hasn't got a blind-spot so much as a blind-entire-side: you have to crane your neck into the most ridiculous contortions to make sure you're not about to side-swipe someone when changing lanes.  That aside and some brief slightly sticky traffic it was pretty smooth.  

I'm back to NYC tomorrow for a meeting with The British-American Business Council which should be interesting.  If I've got time I will pop into the New York Public Library which was closed at the weekend when I was in the city. 

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