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Friday, March 13, 2009

Perception is Everything

Cactus Kate breaks a great story here about Diagnostic Medlab's attempt to pervert the law through the manipulation of the media and, therefore, us.

Not living in the mighty Auck would probably lead to some saying "well what do you care". And to a point they may be right. However it is a wonderful example of how corporations try to sway natural justice through artificial means to the point where what has actually occurred - what is real - is not the point. These people are trying for an outcome through duplicitous means. I.e they are bullshitting. Some might call it marketing.

The same goes for Real Estate agents. These people are the masters of perception over reality. "We paint pictures with words" you may hear them say or "We accentuate the positive". This is actually funny because this accentuation (if there is such a word and I guess there is now - I just made it up) can be so good that the current occupiers may not know how good it is. If in fact everything that the agent said was true about the house they are selling, 50% of vendors wouldn't shift at all! There would be delights to their section that they had never experienced.

For example:

"Wonderful Harbour Views" translates as "If I stand on tip-toes, I can see a square inch of the Harbour Bridge out the window of the back toilet".


"Gracious Family Living" translates as "A korean family with 6 kids , 2 dogs and an elderly relative once stayed here".

So while, in the most minutest way, the claims may be true, reality is dwarfed by perception. And this is it - the point of the post. A leading auction house and realty company has for it's slogan "Marketing is Everything".

These days the most trivial of things are marketed to us. Our news is tailored for us on the basis of demographic, whose got the most upright male anchor and which female anchor may be justly inheriting the title "Mother of a Nation" (though lets face it - no one could replace Judy Bailey). Even that most well worn of media cliches "If it bleeds, it leads" still holds true.

Even our government feels the need to be branded which is another form of marketing. Have you ever noticed that at the bottom of ads detailing public services, there is an icon (sorry - logo) that says New Zealand Government with a very swept up and groovy swoosh through the font. No doubt, armies of media consultants, visual artists and graphic designers were paid extraordinary amounts of money to come up with that wee pearler of originality. It's even an example of how perception becomes a self sustaining industry.

That same industry will argue that, in todays busy world, even the smallest and meekest of organisations need to fight for our attention and therefore marketing is needful. They may be right. However there is something oh so cynical at work when we need to be marketed to for even the basest of goods and services.

And when the marketing comes from a company, like Diagnostic Medlab, for the purposes of profit - not from a genuine commercial point of view, rather a "we cocked up and we are going to lose everything, Lets screw the New Zealand justice system" angle, well we live in troubled times then if we let perception become our reality.

Well done Kate for being the NZ blogosphere's version of Kevin Milne and Fair Go (although, I hazard to guess, a damn sight more attractive than Kevin).


  1. You are naive if you think that DML and Labtests are trying to 'sway natural justice'.
    Sure there has been court action, but that didn't consider any of the practical, commercial and clinical aspects of the proposed transfer from DML to Labtests.
    Read the comments to Cactus Kate's post and you might understand another side to the story.
    The DHB staff seem to have really failed to comprehend the commercial aspects of changing contractors for a major contract with significant upfront fixed cost and the transition looks like an impending disaster for patients.
    Certainly DML needs to make a profit, just as Labtests needs to, and the latter will have lower revenue so it will need to be much more efficient or cut services and quality.

  2. I quite agree with most of your points Steev, and I don't think that Labtests is in any way better - I happened to be living in Auckland at the time this whole debacle started and I still believe that it was a bit underhanded the way the bloke jumped ship to start up in opposition.

    The point I'm making however is that Medlabs has lost, and are now trying to regain something through subterfuge rather than by doing things properly in the first place.

  3. As I have said on Roarprawn Steev, DML are doing their best to not act in anyone's interest now but using the public and the NZ Herald crony to create fear and loathing in people like yourself.

    That is the story. Their conduct aint that lily white. In fact it now borders on the fine line between being pissed off at losing and blatant sabotage.

  4. CK, DML hasn't created any fear or loathing in me. And yes I can see their pure self interest. Sabotage is an emotive term, but failing to help a competitior is usual commercial practice, unless the DHBs included requirements in the DML contract requiring them to assist with the transition in very specific ways, not just "please ensure that you help Labtests..."