Theatre & customization – Active feet

I was recently enthralled by the in store theatre of local Melbourne sports shoe retailer Active Feet. In fact it was much more than theatre. It was service, theatre and attitude. The store is owned and run by podiatrists.

We walked in the store and the first thing the store assistant did was introduce himself, and ask if we’d been in the store before. When we gave the ‘yes’ response and name, he asked to be excused for a few moments and went out the back to check the computer. Upon his return the assistant asked how the flat feet were going, how the particular joggers purchased worked out, and even how boot camp was going. It wasn’t contrived, but I could sense in the tone of voice and body language that this guy cared. I could sense it. All humans can, we can sense people who are faking it.

After this we moved onto the walking machine to assess the feet with some pretty impressive podiatry tools. He then went onto recommend some shoes to try based on the treadmill assessment and a mutual discussion. All of which can be seen in some action shots below.




How many companies have things like databases and valuable customer information that just sits on a computer somewhere and never gets reviewed, let alone used to great value for a returning customer.

Startup lesson: If we are going to collect information for our customers, then maybe we should use it, and not only use it but customize it.

Oh, we bought the shoes there.

Steve – founder

How to – Consumer promotion

Occassionally a consumer promotion does what it’s intended to do.

This is one such promotion.



Surfers compete in a surfboard paddle race.  The first four to the Red Bull buoy in each race will be the only surfers winched from sea to sky by the Red Bull helicopter, and whisked away to spend a weekend surf trip in a top secret location hosted by Ross Clark Jones & current World Champion Surfer Mick Fanning at an awesome beach house retreat.  Winners will get to mingle with Mick, demo some awesome new boards and order their very own free custom surfboard!


Click the image above to check out the details.


Simple mechanics, enhances brand value, anyone can have a go, zero cost to enter, unobtainable prize which money can’t buy, worth talking about.

Sure, they’ve got the budget to do it, and I’m a self confused surf junky… but neither of these things are what makes it so impressive. It’s the idea, the execution and more so “The Experience” – even the losers will enjoy participating.


As life becomes more about experiences, rather than consumption smart startups will take notice.


What experience does your start up offer?


Kudos Redbull – again.

How to blog about your business

We all know it’s good practice to blog about our business or start up. We want to be authentic, transparent and build a relationship. But often we struggle with what to write about. 

What we’ve done at is try to make sure it’s a dialogue and not a monologue.


You can check out the rentoid blog here.


So here’s a super list of ideas on how to blog about your business:

Don’t just blog about your business

Blog about other things your people may be interested in

Comment on other blogs similar to yours

Ask for feedback

Act on feedback

Answer comments on your blog

Put pictures on your blog

Tell your people about cool stuff your business is doing

Tell your people about mistakes you’ve made

Tell your people about delays in product releases

Ask your people what they want to hear about

Find other blogs / business geographically close to you and connect

Blog about your company values & beliefs

Blog about other cool businesses with similar ‘values’

Put a blogroll on your sidebar of similar businesses

(sounds counter intuitive, but keeps you honest and frames where you belong)

Put what your blog is about in the sidebar

Give your people a reason to come back

If it’s relevant link to another story or blog

Blog about your launch

Give a sneak preview

Blog about something funny that happened in the office

Blog about your people

Blog about your media coverage

Blog about why you’re better than the competition

Blog about why you’re worse, and what you’re doing about it

Show pictures of product / design / your retail outlet

Post your advertising

Run a sampling campaign via your blog

Focus on the theology of your site & business

Add comments to this blog entry to add more ideas….

Keeping promises

We’ve recently challenged ourselves at rentoid as part of our clustering strategy. We promised our members in ‘Melbourne Australia’ that rentoid has ‘anything’ they could possibly want to rent. Especially given our moniker for Rentoid is “the place to rent anything”. The promise can be seen here.


Some may think this is crazy. The fact is we couldn’t possibly have everything available for rent. But that’s where the depth of idea is:


Here are the possible outcomes:

  • People search Melbourne and see the depth of items for rent.

  • They may find what they need, or not.

  • If they don’t, we have promised to find what they need.

(unless they ask for something like elephant tusks!)


We’ll find what they need by asking other members if they have it, or we’ll find it through other means. In short we’ll keep our promise. We’ll find them what they need. 


The idea ensures we stretch ourselves to serve our customers and it gives us an authentic way to create a positive customer experience. Which we hope they’ll talk about.


If you’re in Melbourne, test us!


Sampling is the best thing a start up can spend money on when you know consumers will dig what you have.


There is one thing companies often get wrong when sampling a new product. They decide in their infinite wisdom to only give a portion of the actual consumption experience. That way they can sample more people, have wider reach – get the product or experience in the hands of more people.

How frustrating is it to get a little pouch of shampoo that will barely produce a lather on your hair? In this case, all consumers will do is tell their friends about how bad the product is.

If budget is an issue we’re better off sampling less people with the full product experience.