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King of Pies Eddie McGuire beams black and white laser light on caravan industry direction

April 12, 2013
King of Pies Eddie McGuire beams black and white  laser light on caravan industry direction

By Garth Morrison Editor GoSeeAustralia

Eddie McGuire talks sense about market loyalty. The subject of his presentation is leadership. Hisaudience, workshirts to suits, is a bald statement of change in the caravanning industry.

So EddieMcGuire nails his colours to the leadership mast right off. Stand by your brand. says the President ofthe AFL's Collingwood Football Club. The only colours Collingwood wears on its guernseys isblack and white, or white and black. You have worked too hard to throw away your brand andright now you are selling a holiday experience, he says.

The backdrop industry banners behind himshow that nationally the caravanning industry is already reaching for the marketing clarity of a blackand white message.

'Make Some Memories' is the industry call to action for Holiday Australia and the journalist inMcGuire grabs the story line. He, notably, does not use notes.

His next question challenges theroom. What is your happiest memory?, he askes. There is some half embarassed, uncertainshuffling. Then McGuire really tests the establishment envelope with a New Age invitation to -Close your eyes and think about your happiest memory.

For the cross section of rusted on industry stalwarts in the elite Medallion Club luncheon room at manicured Etihad Stadium, in Melbourne's Docklands wearing hearts on sleeves is a big call.

For some its like being asked to dance a role in Swan Lake. Or maybe admitting reading Depak Chopra. But the Caravan Industry Australia Victorian Division guest list includes the essential engredient to major change -woman.

McGuire works the female flexibility angle hard. The guest list is also seasoned with freshfaces in well cut suits from 'can do' support industries like major banking, legal and IT.

So McGuirehits the mark and the uncertain follow the leaders.

I remember putting my hand in my father's big pawas he took me to the footy and the pie we had, he said

The King of the Pies slams laser light clarity on the essence of a great, proud football club, built bybattlers for battlers in a terrible time when often the only happiness in a soul-killing life of struggle,grime and grind was the rock solid togetherness of Collingwood's Army of fans.

A walk in the nearby tarted up Docklands reveals men were routinely badly injured, even died tosupport their families on Melbourne's dangerous wharves.

Manicured Etihad playing surface
Manicured Etihad playing surface

It is from this kind of reality the Collingwood focus comes and McGuire honors the togetherness ofthe faithful. The fans come first in his world.

He kids you not. The club believes that everyCollingwood fan is equal, he says. His touch is diplomatically light as he mentions the potentialdollar barrier to fans of the Etihad Medallion Club at Etihad venue in the context of Magpieequality. But it is a factor in Collingwood's Olympic Park training ground decision, he says.

It provides an MCG sized training base equal to anything in the world for the biggest sporting club in Australia.

Caravan Trade Industries Association of Victoria, (CITAVic) President Peter May and CEORob Lucas say they see caravanning industry growth is tied to working to create a biggerAustralian caravanning fan base. It also means dealing at high level with government both State andFederal.

Etihad Stadium Melbourne
Etihad Stadium Melbourne

The industry togetherness has been taking up McGuire's Collingwood message in recent years. The Leadership session at Etihad reinforces that direction.

The heavy hitters in the Etihad MedallionLounge session included Stuart Lamont, CEO of the industries national entity CRVA and Victoria'scaravan park leading VicParks represented by President Steve Bartlett and CEO Elizabeth White.

The caravanning industry is on the move upmarket so your correspondent expects to spend more timein a suit.

Editors Note: A byline on a GoSee story indicates opinion.

Melbourne Docklands
Melbourne Docklands