Ask Periwinkle

Dear Periwinkle,
We are revitalising our deer park cum ‘woodland Hygge’ type conference and wedding venue but are struggling with the branding – some guidance would be much appreciated.
Katherine, Flintshire

Hygge you say? How very hipster. Run a team workshop/blue sky thinking/brain-storming thing to get your proposition right – or in hipster talk – ‘right on.’ Write down who you want as your customer. Include what you want to be known for (ranking equal with the Queen in the Rich List doesn’t count). And if your doctor can give you something for the cringe you might want to work out what you stand for. If anyone mentions ‘Vision Statement’ fire them on the spot.

Chances you’re going to come down firmly in contemporary subculture territory (you’ll know if you have flat white in the urn and OSB on the walls). That settled, whip out the crayons and get scribbling in search of a logo. Don’t aim as high as Apple or Nike but steer clear at the other end of the logo spectrum, of deer and trees in any of their infinite varieties, as these have been thrashed to death by others and interred long ago in Cliche Cemetery.

You could take the express train to Coolsville by using a hipster name generator – it’ll chuck out gems like Moon and Donkey, or Lumber and Rat. Wonder and Lunch anyone? As for colour schemes – you’ll not go far wrong with any shade of espresso.

For photography it’s tempting to go for your grandfather’s box brownie, point-and-click machine. Don’t do it. Always hire a professional photographer. She’ll also point and click, but at the right things and from the right angles.

Dear Periwinkle,
We are very rural and need some advice on off-grid solutions for power and waste. Any ideas?
Anthony, Norfolk

You have no doubt already been told by desk-johnnies at the department of the environment that the path to follow here should include solar power generation, regular manual emptying of waste tanks or fancy compost toilets, all of which are going to hit your wallet hard.

Me, I’d whip up a bell tent and dig a Multi-purpose Topsoil Indentation (aka a hole in the ground) to cater for defecation and garbage disposal. Big up ‘Wild Camping’ in your promo material to sound as if only the foolish would contemplate any other type of short break and you should turn a tidy profit. Offer a free trenching spade if bookings start to go south.

Enhance bookings to your back-of-beyond location by walking the talk. Be relentlessly green. Invest in an electric car but be sure to tarmac a bit of field and install mains power for charging.

Dear Periwinkle,
How should I go about attracting sponsors to my arts festival?
Melody, Dorset

You give no details on the type of art this festival of yours will be celebrating. Some art – be it from the worlds of literature, sculpture or opera for example – is so dire that it simply shouldn’t in all conscience be celebrated as this would only encourage the perpetrators (artists) to create more of it than the eye or ear should ever be asked to endure.

Some existing brands might welcome a leg up onto the cultural cuddy. Be bold. Approach Go Compare. They have been actively trying to get into opera for years.

In all seriousness though, there’s a big difference in the type of corporate backing a family-friendly forest fantasy festival with literature, live performance and sculptural installations lurking behind every tree will attract over a deadly serious Jane-Austen retrospective using 12 foot puppets from France. For the latter, you have to get the tone just right – Cillit Bang was pitch perfect with Barry Scott, perhaps he would compère?

Don’t forget that sponsors are a trixie lot. Approach them as you would a cornered raccoon. Though don’t be afraid to remorselessly massage their egos in pursuit of their moolah. Convince them that art is an idea that you alone dreamt up only yesterday and they’ll salivate at the thought of exposure to a new audience. You could always offer them a free hospitality package if all else failed – something involving a bell tent and a free trenching spade perhaps.

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