The Instructions Are On the Packet...

on July 28, 2016

They really are.

I don't think we need to have any more staff serving at the counter now that we have the new Manfrotto tripod boxes. The questions that the customers ask and the response that we give are all printed on the outside of the packaging. If they attach some reference to the weather and a dirty joke we can all stay home...

Okay, it isn't as bad as fact it is actually good. Manfrotto have printed examples of tripod use on the outside of the box and have included enough information on all four long sides to encourage anyone to purchase toe product. I would go further and say that it is a pretty good product - and it has a unique design feature.

Here's the boxes. Info on all surfaces - why you need a tripod, how to deploy it, what results to expect.

Inside there is a useful cloth bag containing the goods, with the interesting design feature of ta captive strap so you can sling it over your shoulder while hiking. Well thought out.

Once you have it sitting naked in front of you, all folded up, you can be excused for wondering how they got it into the slim line if it has a three-axis tripod head. A ball head is slim, but three-axis heads always have something that sticks out sideways. Putting one away is like loading a drunk into a taxi.

Here's the secret. Manfrotto made one of the adjusting levers swing 90º and screw into the same axis as the other lever when it is stored. For use, you loosen it and swing it back the 90º into the conventional position. Clever, clever thinking. It would be good to see the same facility in the more professional tripods as well.

The rest of the deal is good-duality amateur tripod design - light enough to haul but steady enough for a medium-sized DSLR. Don't try for super telephoto lenses or large-format cameras. Accept that this is a traveller's architecture and landscape rig and make use of it as such.

Now - let us see if this approach to customer outreach printed on the packaging will the off in other areas. Done well - not patronising the client and not puffing the product too much - it could make a considerable difference to people who want to make up their own minds without salespeople pressuring them.

Note: On the sales floor I never pressured anyone. Until 5 minutes until lunch and then I pulled out a cavalry sabre...