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

Not only rice

Kai – sent me the following visual of a Melbourne Rice Bar:

Was it just in case we’re were’nt sure if they sold drinks as well?

Maybe it would have been more interesting if they said ‘Rice bar’ – only rice, nothing except rice dishes, we are the rice experts…

Singapore Series – episode 2 – Crumpler; Single Minded Hero

While cruising through a local Singapore mall I noticed many students with their Crumpler bags. As seen below:



They make cool bags. I knew the brand was doing well.  I own a Crumpler and on any given Saturday in Melbourne Australia, their store is packed with people from around the world buying their super terrific bags.


I’ve since found  that Crumpler is now in 19 countries.  They have 3 stores in Singapore – the locals love them.


Here’s the thing that’s really cool: Crumpler was started by – two Melbourne bike couriers Dave & Will in 1995. Who deserve all the success they get. Simply because they created a product which is hand crafted & brilliant. Upon success, they didn’t fall into the trap of product range expansion. They stuck with bags. They stayed with their single minded proposition, and remained the experts in their specific category – Satchels & bags. They haven’t even extended into luggage. This is how power brands are built. By being experts. By focusing on a micro niche. Even when you’re a startup.



They just kept doing what they do, and expanded geographically. You can read more about them here.


Be like Crumpler.

Virtual ‘Radvertising’ – Heineken

This is ‘radvertising’ for many reasons.


  • It highlights a single minded product benefit – nothing artifical
  • It leverages historical brand postioning & authenticity – so it’s believable
  • Chooses a topical juxtapostion which is easily understood
  • Has broad appeal which can cross the chasm of age demographics
  • The creative idea is strongly linked to the consumption environment & category
  • It’s sneezeworthy (worth spreading / has viral potential)
  • It’s entertaining. Which by the way is never, ever an objective of ‘radvertising’. It’s a BONUS.

The back up

A ‘very’ single minded proposition. I guess the product benefits are clear, low start ups costs,  with a very targeted market. I’ll be interested to see what people think of this one!




Bono says

Circa 1992 on MTV across 4 big, no 4 massive TV screens U2 lead singer Bono was asked what ‘Zoo TV’ was all about. His reply:


“It’s about the chaos of choice.” Poignant.


Start ups ought listen to Bono – and avoid the chaos.