Feedback from our readers

RE: Age of extinction
Glen McMinn Successful retailers have come to realize that to be a true destination, you have to actually live as one. The bumper sticker approach that places the brand promise and attributes as an add-on is the least favourable approach to winning, and keeping, likeminded clients and employees. Successful brands create and live by their own rules and they stick to them. They allow for growth and change, they have mastered the edict ‘ease not effort’, and they never settle for less. Generic excuses such as bad location, perceived exclusivity, and high price point is a systemic reaction that renders a brand’s success or failure simplistic. Instead of seeing these components as roadblocks to connectivity, the real challenge is for retailers to identify what’s not working, and either demystify the issue or turn it into an opportunity to differentiate themselves. If you are a true destination, consumers will find you and will want to stick with you.

Re: All pain, no gain
Andrew Oland Professor Kimber’s column in the September/October issue suggests austerity measures are not appropriate for Nova Scotia or Greece. Unfortunately Professor Kimber fails to understand Greece and Nova Scotia share two common fiscal realities. First, neither country controls their own currency and thus cannot devalue their currency (in essence print money to pay their creditors). Second, both countries are in a precarious economic situation: Greece is in default and Nova Scotia has a perilously high debt/GDP ratio of 37 per cent. Just to be clear, New Brunswick is in a similar fiscal mess. Each year Nova Scotia and New Brunswick must roll over or re-borrow close to $1 billion.

Countries such as Canada or the United States, with lots of capacity to take on additional debt and their own currency, can include stimulus spending in their economic growth tool kit. Jurisdictions such as Greece and Nova Scotia, which are highly leveraged, gave up this option many years ago.

Readers needn’t look far for more practical solutions. In the same edition, fellow columnist John Risley provides a much more mature perspective on the challenges of excessive leverage.

RE: Schooled
Nona MacDermid I applaud Mr. Pond for highlighting one of the region’s greatest problems and for his courage in challenging the institutions to innovate their offering. I’ve witnessed the selling dilemma from every angle—starting my own consulting firm and fumbling through selling my services right through to watching poorly developed and unmanaged salespeople ruin the culture and profitability of an organization. Sales and sales management are two functions of a business that are often viewed as “in-born talent” while the reality is that excellence in selling is like excellence in anything else—it requires a commitment to operate from core values, a clear understanding of a product or service, processes to nurture relationships, and systems to effectively transfer healthy sales into the operations in a manner that allows for efficient delivery. I believe a huge degree of sales and sales management success can be taught and mentored, and I look forward to the developments that spring from this challenge. Thank you, Mr. Pond!

RE: Fam Club
Helen Earley I am a travel writer who has participated on organized FAM trips and self-directed press trips, and I prefer the latter. FAM trips or media junkets can be jam-packed with as many activities as the tourist board can fit into a day’s itinerary, whereas self-directed trips, if a writer can engage an agreeable host, can offer an authentic experience, worth sharing with readers. The best “freebie” I received this year was a $45/night stay in a tent at a campground in Digby Neck, which I arranged with the owner directly after hearing murmurs about the place. It was hardly luxurious, but an amazing place; well worth writing about! I always promise to write a piece that is “positive in nature.” If something negative happens, I leave it out and contact the host directly to explain why I could not address that aspect of my stay. That’s sort of standard, I think. There’s definitely no mutual back-scratching, but there’s no bridge-burning either.

RE: Working for a living
John M. Unfortunately, the CFIB operating model is to attack anything that will affect the bottom line for business in this country. Sad but true.

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