Magazine article Marketing

Mark Ritson on Branding: Talk's Not Cheap in Land of Longhaulia

Magazine article Marketing

Mark Ritson on Branding: Talk's Not Cheap in Land of Longhaulia

Article excerpt

Once upon a time there was a magical island called Longhaulia that was ruled by a wise but stern wizard called Oftrad. Longhaulia was quite small but across the ocean there were many fabulous kingdoms. Oftrad wanted his people to be able to visit these kingdoms, but he knew that without his help they were simply too far away.

One day Oftrad summoned Longhaulia's two bravest knights, Sir Richard and Sir William, to his palace. Both men were afraid when they arrived, but Oftrad smiled and gave them both a magical carpet. 'Behold,' he said, 'you will ferry my people on these carpets to faraway lands and back again. You may ask for a small fee in return for your trouble but ...' and here the wizard seemed to grow in stature and his ancient face became dark and serious, 'you must never reveal to each other the fee that you charge.'

The knights left the palace and quickly set up their businesses in Longhaulia's town square - right next door to each other. Soon both were so busy travelling back and forward on their magic carpets that they had to hire apprentices to manage their stalls while they were away. Sir William hired two brothers called Mars and John.

Townspeople would arrive early each morning at the two magic carpet stalls. They would pay a small fee to either Sir Richard or Sir William and then be whisked away into the sky on their magical carpet ride. For Mars, and especially John, the excitement of magic carpets soon began to wear very thin. With their master and his magic carpet gone most of the time there was very little to keep them occupied except to clean and look over the fence at the other apprentices working for Sir Richard.

As the days passed, the two sets of apprentices exchanged greetings Then one day Sir William arrived home early on his magic carpet and found them chatting across the fence. Angrily he scolded Mars and John. 'You must not talk to those boys! Especially about our prices,' he bellowed.

Sir William had noticed that every time he raised the price for his magic carpet rides, Sir Richard followed suit just a few days later and he began to worry that his apprentices were talking about prices over the fence. William comforted himself with the warnings he had given them. 'Perhaps Sir Richard is just being savvy,' he reassured himself. 'After all, did Oftrad not pick us because we were equally clever? …

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