Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A brand apart: Inishturkbeg

Thanks to The Persuaders for introducing me to the story of Inishturkbeg island a couple of weeks back. It's in Clew Bay in Mayo, not far from Westport, and it's the passion and dream of Nadim Sadek, who has built the entire island experience as a brand. That definition makes it sound far too small though. It's an artists' retreat, a stud farm, a purveyor of high-end quality foods and products and a weekend getaway (handy if you've got the €10k overnight asking price, but you can at least bring 39 of your fave friends with you).

It's a brand catering very much to the upper end of the market. Sadek comes from a research background but has very firmly gone against the research grain in many ways. Simple little things, like not actually showing their smoked salmon in its pack but instead designing packaging to show rich island photography, reiterating the brand essence at every turn. He's done a huge amount of thinking about the project, knows the essence of what he's created inside out yet readily admits that he is far from certain about where it will end up.

I'm not aware of any other luxury brands that are pushing the boat out anywhere in TRT,  let alone in the West of Ireland, but Sadek has charisma and vision, and the effort that's gone into this brand is huge. You won't see it easily because it is talking exclusively to the corporate and First 10,000 market of London and beyond, and it's not doing so with any traditional marketing. Lean Mean Fighting Machine have recently been tasked with taking Inishturkbeg into the world, and they've got the online nous to do it.

The sprawl of the Inishturkbeg brand is a wonderful experiment in marketing, certainly not like anything else I've seen. The commercial nature of it, while essential, certainly doesn't take over from the artistic endeavour of what the place is about. Not sure I'll have the sponds to stay anytime soon though.

Thanks to Alex Gibson for the evening, and all at the v snazzy dylan.

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