Apr 26, 2018
After speaking at the Cleve 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.
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’ll notice that I put my marketer’s lenses on
whenever I go.
As a marketer, I was blown away by Chatsworth for the following
- 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 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 the
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
Be well. Until next time.