Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Marketing Issue: Mall Owners should rethink "No Picture Taking" policy

TIMES BOOKSTORE AT THE PAVILION KL: Quality trade books at very low prices compared to the ones in Manila.

Going abroad, especially in the Asian region, is an opportunity to buy good quality glossy trade books at much lower prices compared to those in Manila.

For those who love to read books that keep them updated and make them learn more about their craft, one of the "must dos" in shopping abroad is a visit to the local bookstore in upscale malls.

So, when I spotted this "Marketing: An Introduction; An Asian Perspective" by marketing guru Philip Kotler together with new editions of "Principles of Marketing" and "Marketing Management" at the Times Bookstore at the 6th level of Pavilion mall along Raja Chulan in Kuala Lumpur ... I wanted to take pictures of the 3 valuable reference books side by side on the shelves.

"I'm sorry, you are not allowed to do that," a staff said politely.

I explained that I wanted to let the people back home know where to buy these trade books in KL so they would know where to go to and what store to head straight to. But, elevating it even to her superior did not work. We were also not allowed to take pics of the facade of the store. In fact, taking pictures inside the mall was prohibited.

Well, actually, our malls in the Philippines also have the same archaic policy -- and it is about time that mall owners and property developers reconsider this.

Why? Because ... with the advent of modern technology that spawned gadgets like digital cameras, smartphones with cameras, tablets with cameras, etc... there already is an existing trend to take pictures of our experiences so we could immediately share it with others over the digital platform in an instant.

That's why blogging is now so popular and many have taken it up. We all know this, right?

Even marketers and advertisers acknowledge the growing influence of blogs to push and move their products and services that even malls host blogging events to launch brands and shops.

So, why do they continue to ban shoppers, patrons, and even bloggers from taking pics? Don't they see this as an unnecessary obstacle to encouraging more features and endorsements of their locators and what they are selling?

Come on, guys. Sure, there was a time -- once upon a time -- when there were few cameras and very limited access to market info and images that we in the business development and industrial espionage business resorted to covert operations or special ops in order to spy on our competitors. 

Another reason then was for security reasons so the safety of the property and the people therein would not be compromised if terrorists or bad elements were casing your establishment.

But those two reasons are so passe! Obtaining information via a digicam or DSLR is not necessary anymore with so many images and information about them flooding social media and the internet.  So easy to download. It is now just a click away.

Besides, if we really wanted to ... you would not even notice our spy cams and listening devices even if you were just a step away.

I, therefore, appeal to mall owners to rethink this and see the light to finally allow taking pictures in their premises. They will be the first ones to benefit from it anyway.

Take it from Alliance Global Inc. -- owner of Newport City and Eastwood city Malls -- who is open to having pictures taken because they see its advantages. "We do not have that policy in our mall. When you come to Newport Mall we have a lot of people taking pictures. The idea is for them to spread it through social media," said Kingson Sian, President & COO.

Well, Kingson has always been a visionary and has always been a step ahead of the rest anyway. It is now time for other mall owners to take the cue from him and repeal this stupid policy.

*Selamat datang Zest Air and Tourism Malaysia for making this trip possible.

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