7 Aug 2008

Disappearing act

In Scandinavia, the sun usually creeps high enough above the horizon so that for about five to six weeks around July and August, you can actually begin to feel the odd sensation of warmth upon your milky white, winter hide. It is during this time that hordes of Scandinavians flee the cities and corporate office parks in search of the perfect, albeit fleeting, summer tan.

But this mass summer migration raises some interesting challenges for companies whose customers and communications do not necessarily take a holiday between midsummer and the first harvest.

For one, it falsely makes the day before the midsummer the most important day in the entire annual marketing calendar. That is when every deadline, marketing launch and project milestone needs to be completed. Forget about what is going on in the market, if these deadlines are not met, how can vacationers focus on their tans and summer crime novels?

Then there is the problem of mass out-of-office replies. Contact one person and their out-of-office refers your to their summer replacement. Contact the replacement and they refer you to the summer intern. Contact the intern and next thing you know you’re talking to the janitor. It can take weeks just to get a simple typo changed on a website.

I am a transplant to this peculiar corner of Europe but the whole pre and post summer hysteria seems a bit forced to me. The rest of the world does not disappear during the summer months, so neither should your communications. But rest assured, your customers WILL disappear if you don’t have a good summer plan. But then it probably won’t just be for July.


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