I like Malmaison. It provides nice hotel rooms and facilities at a fair price. But on a recent stay in Leeds, after a long day, when I got to my room, I became irritated by the voice of the Malmaison brand. It was a persistently annoying voice and it wouldn't shut up. There comes a point when you just want to say: "Enough! Can't a bath-mat just be a (silent) bath-mat? Does everything have to bloody talk to me?! I just want to sleep!" It's possible to take this Brand Voice thing too far, to the point where it feels like you're in some dodgy sci-fi movie where the hero wakes up to find everything talks to him in a Star Trek-style computer voice. Neil Christie, http://wklondon. typepad.com/
THINK ABOUT THE FUTURE
It's time to stop thinking about investing in print versus investing in digital. Don't get me wrong, print has many healthy decades ahead of it. And much of our editorial and commercial success will depend on having a strong presence in print and online. But on the key metrics of circulation and ad revenue, those decades will be about gentle, and sometimes not so gentle, decline. The online world offers smart media owners potential for growth. That's not a con. It's a fact. And it's time to learn to deal with it. So, by all means let's not throw away our past. But let's not cling on to it so tightly that we also throw away our future. Simon Waldman, group director of digital strategy, Guardian Media Group, www.simonwaldman.net.