There is no question that Steve Irwin has left a legacy for wildlife conversation that will last longer than our lifetime. His story and his work is certainly a remarkable achievement for the lovable larrikin. Importantly, Irwin showed us all that passion and being true to oneself is the key ingredient for success, no matter what we put our mind too.
Today I had the great privilege of taking my kids to Steve Irwin's Australia Zoo in Beerwah, South East Queensland. What struck me instantly was the Irwin passion coming through the whole complex. The staff were remarkable, the scenery breathtaking and the zoo itself is a tribute to wildlife conservation efforts.
The one thing however that has stuck in my mind, is just how big the Irwin juggernaut has become. In Australia, we've seen the guy on our TV screens for many years and watched as he walked across the globe selling his message, but the only 'real' way you can assess his impact, is visiting the Australia Zoo. Keep in mind, Irwin hadn't graduated from Harvard with an MBA in business and media……he was a genuine laid back Australian with enormous levels of passion for conservation, who cleverly realized that through television he would be able to sell his message to a global audience.
The Australia Zoo complex and the associated merchandise and paraphernalia is one of the smartest and sophisticated marketing executions that I've seen. I mean its slick, everything from the ice-cream vending machines, to the drink dispensers and park theme train drives the Irwin conservation theme. It is not the type of message that overwhelms you, its sincere, passionate and cleverly delivered.
It is clear to see that the passion for his work comes through in the marketing that surrounds the zoo and its associated ventures. A lesson learned for anyone developing marketing strategy….you need to find the substance behind your message….and once you've found this……you need to execute in a way that does not alienate your market.
I have no doubt that Irwin himself was the driver behind many of these marketing strategies, but I'm also equally sure he has a strong, capable team developing the conservation message. After seeing many Zoo's around the world, this one is surely the leader! But apart from the Zoo complex itself, the breadth of the Irwin conglomerate is breathtaking….from tracks of land (reportedly hundreds of thousands of hectares for land and animal conservation purposes), movies, television programs and charitable pursuits!
Whilst Irwin's message is "crocs rule", I must say "Steve Irwin rules". I feel very thankful for visiting Australia Zoo, but more importantly, my kids have learned a valuable lesson in life. He was obviously a remarkable human being……gone, but his legacy never forgotten.
Mark Henderson is a guest writer for Business Pundit and owner of www.reverseturkey.com