Welcome to another episode of 7-Minute Marketing with Pam. My name is Pam Didner, and I love sharing a little dose of B2B, digital and content marketing, seven minutes at a time.
After speaking at the Clever Content Conference in Copenhagen, I met up with a good friend, Diana, in Manchester, England. We were thinking about where we should spend our weekend. She suggested that we visit the Chatsworth. I got excited right away. I recalled reading somewhere that Chatsworth was Mr. Darcy’s country estate, Pemberley in the movie version of Pride and Prejudice starring Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen. In the movie, Mr. Darcy’s country estate seemed fantastic, so I had to check out.
Chatsworth Manor first impressions
We got there around 10:00 am and the estate wasn’t open until 11:00 am. We strolled through the field around the estate. I was told that Chatsworth covers over 1000 acres and most of the field is open for public all year around. The current owner, the 12th Duke of Devonshire, still lives in this manor with his family. He is keen about open access and allows the community to use it for recreational purposes. We lucked out on the weather. Birds chirping, flowers blossoming, cloudless blue sky and lush green grass. It was a superb and perfect spring day.
If you’ve listened to my podcast about my visit to Chateaux Clos Luce in Loire or read my blog post about my experience attending the USTA US Open, you’ve noticed that I put my marketer’s lenses on wherever I go.
As a marketer, I was blown away by Chatsworth for the following reasons.
The staff as brand ambassadors
Their staff is their true brand ambassador: Each room and hallway has one or two staff in attendance. They are friendly and willing to share their Chatsworth knowledge and stories. I am sure that many of you have experience of visiting palaces and castles. Most of the staff members were like watchdogs. They are there to tell you ‘not to’ do something; like not to take photos and not to touch anything. Very different at Chatsworth. Every staff member I talked to was friendly, genuinely loves this estate and wanted to provide a great experience for visitors.
They constantly thinking ways to improve their product offerings: Most mansions and palaces we visit, they focus on showing a bunch of rooms with antique furniture. They showcase the same rooms years after years. No changes. By going through the rooms at Chatsworth, I could tell that they constantly move things around to create a fresh experience for visitors. The movie, Duchess, was based on the 5th Duchess of Devonshire, Georgiana. This movie obviously made Chatsworth popular. People want to check out the place where Georgiana lived. Therefore, they created a gallery hallway to share Georgiana’s lifestyle. That gallery was beautifully done. The other gallery hallway was also completely redone to showcase the current Duke’s and Duchess’ modern art collections. Two hallways in parallel, one modern, one classic. Both renovations were done in the past several years. The estate, in a way, is their product. They constantly move things around and bring new collections to enhance their product. Marketing works best when you have something new to say about your products. They are doing that just that. I thought that’s very impressive.
Telling stories through content marketing and curation: The 11th Duchess, Deborah Cavendish, wrote several books about Chatsworth. Talking about content marketing! She used her books to share the history and stories about Chatsworth and got people to pay attention to the estate. Of course, several documentaries were done over the last few decades. That continued to build buzz and increase interest. Another thing worth mentioning is the merchandise they sell in their gift shop. We all have passed through various museums and palaces’ gift shops before our exists. This gift shop is rather unique. all items are sourced with intention. Rather than displaying the same categories of merchandise, they mix and match related and relevant accessories with elegant style and taste. It’s like shopping in a high-end store. They also know people are curious about the current Duke and Duchess. I noticed a clever marketing idea which is to showcase some of the Duke and Duchess’ favorite products. A sign denoting “A few of my favorite things” highlights some of the store’ products, enticing people to check out items the Duke and Duchess like.
I didn’t talk to the management to do this podcast. These are my personal observations from simply viewing and talking to several members of the staff. I asked one of the staff members who’ve been there for several years why every staff is so eager to tell Chatsworth stories. She said that the Duke and Duchess are both very kind and generous. They consider themselves lucky and they treat their staff with respect. I think she hit the core about how to run a good company. The corporate culture, especially for a family-run business, truly reflects the personal values of the founders.
Chatsworth is considered one of the finest country estates in England. I can totally see why. The staff is doing a great job representing Chatsworth. They continuously refresh and update their product, which is their estate and they make an effort to tell stories and curate the best experience for their visitors.
Talking about customer retention and word-of-mouth. They won me over and I’ll not only visit this place again but also share my wonderful experience with others, like what I am doing now.
Do you put on your marketing lenses when you travel? Any good stories to tell? Please share with me.
Again, send me your marketing questions via Twitter @pamdidner
Be well. Until next time.