There have been a lot of letters floating around this season.
Some made me stand up and send a virtual high five to the author, some left me with the usual “meh” feeling. The kind of feeling that, to be fair, my own marketing leaves me with more often than not. Good, but not great.
But this letter from Aspen CEO Mike Kaplan was different. It started out sounding similar to others, but by the end there was a tone and voice I hadn’t seen in a long, long time.
As I reread it, three lines stood out.
The first one comes at the end of the third paragraph.
“Yes, there will be new procedures this winter, some of them annoying, and a handful of the exuberant social activities we are famous for will be greatly subdued. But there is an overarching opportunity in this new normal that I’m trying to embrace.”
I don’t know exactly what it is about the phrase “…that I’m trying to embrace…” but I love it. It’s a CEO admitting he doesn’t have control. Admitting it’s not perfect. But seeing a chance to let go of something to see potential in something else. A trend that continues later in the piece.
It just feels so…well…human.
Next comes at the end of the following paragraph.
“No doubt, next ski season will be more of an old school experience, but that could also translate to less noise, fewer distractions and, hopefully, more meaning.”
With just a few words tweaked, this could have felt much more like a marketing spin on bad news. Or perhaps more…I dunno…fluffy. But he didn’t. it’s just a simple hope that we can enjoy the forced break from the usual pace.
The next line comes right at the end
“Between now and winter, we would love to see you in person. But if you can’t make it, please know that we’re thinking about you, hoping you and your loved ones are well, and we are looking forward to welcoming you back here again.”
There is something amazingly refreshing about the words “but if you can’t make it”. So often marketing is meant to induce a little bit of guilt. Not too much, but enough to bring potential regret into the picture.
I love the idea of sending positive vibes instead of that subtle attempt to draw down the powers of FOMO.
Again, give this one a read. It’s got some good stuff:
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