Monday, September 17, 2012

It's been a while

But, I'm back

Thursday, February 01, 2007

I'm back. What brought me in from the cold, you may ask? Have you seen the overreaction in Boston?

Safer now that we all stark raving mad and afraid of our own shadows?

Friday, March 03, 2006

I get David Pogue's "Circuits" column. It's one of the best email columns I get and I think everyone who is exposed in any way to technology (so, everyone!) should get it and at least glance at it.

This week's column focused on feedback from last week's column, which provided a very humorous and -- dare I say accurate -- run down on Dell Tech Support.

What makes this particular column blogworthy, was Dell PR's response to the original column:
"The decision by the New York Times to distribute a one-sided guest column with disrespectful language toward our Dell team in other parts of the world without contacting us is bad news judgment at best," wrote VP....
As a PR & marketing guy, I can't help but wonder how this VP got her job! Why, as technology company, would you email an influential technology columnists at one of the largest daily newspapers in the country with a combative, argumentative note. Did she not know it would be reprinted? Did she honestly think this would change David's mind and he would print a glowing rebuttal to his own column?

Better would be to call David. Talk with him and discuss your company's issues with the piece in a professional manner. By starting and maintaining a respectful dialogue, David would be more inclined to give you a ring the next time he's about to write about Dell.

What would have happened if that flack (Yes, I used that term, some in our business deserve it) had called David and said, "Yes we know our phone support sounds scripted, it's our opinion that that helps all of our Tech Support People attack a problem in the same, methodical manner, providing better service in the long run. We are also aware that this can sometimes be annoying to customers and we are working on ways to improve the overall experience for all customers. In fact, this year alone, our complaints have been reduced by 30 percent, so while there is still work to be done, we are heading in the right direction."

I've read a lot of David's columns over the years, and I can tell you that this week's column would have looked differently and most likely would have been better for Dell. Of course, all this supposes that Dell really is improving Support Services all the time ( I hope, I hope, I hope (I own a Dell...)), and that things really are getting better.

Friday, February 24, 2006

The Colonel a marketing genius?

I'm back. I was traveling through Cyberspace on my way back to the blogsphere when I took a wrong turn at SEO marketing. It was a bit scary, but I finally found by way back.

I've been hearing about KFC's newest ad idea--inserting a hidden code in its TV commercials that can only be seen in slow-motion. They are going after the TiVo and VCR market, giving people an actual, valuable (a free sandwich, I think) reason to watch their commercial. So are they being silly and gimmicky? Of course! Is it working? So far. I've it on several blogs, several traditional news outlets, including TV and radio. I think the concept brilliant!

Rather than fighting the TiVo affect, KFC is using it to their advantage. Further they've found a way to get coupons on TV! Brilliant. Especially if this is a sampling campaign. That is, their end goal is to get people to try this sandwich. They'll get people actually slowing down the commercial to get the code and they'll probably get a whole lot of college students and some advertising blogs posting the code on various blogs. So what! End result: A lot of people trying their sandwich, which means a larger portion buying it when the promotion ends.

Now, I just need a TiVo!

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Nude & semi-nude personalities are now brands?

Listening to the radio this morning and Carmen Elektra was on plugging something, I'm not really sure what and frankly don't care much. But, the interview grabbed my interest and wouldn't let go when {no, not that ...} the morning show Dj asked her what she considered herself: a model, an actress, a personality, etc. Her answer was "I think of myself as a Brand."

hummmm. Well, first I think she may have stolen that bit of oddness from Paris, who said something similar around 6-9 months ago. But the really weird thing is that she may be right! I did a quick google search on her before starting this post, just to see what was out there and toward the top, maybe number 3, was a link for a Carmen Elektra pool cue -- real hard wood, mind you {honestly it said that in the ad...}. Now keep in mind I'm in an professional office environment, so I couldn't link on the majority of offerings google served up, but it got me to thinking...was the pool cue company selling a cue stick or Carmen Elektra? We know that Coke doesn't sell soda. It sells Coke.

maybe she is a brand after all.

What do you think?

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

WSJ Helps Google State the obvious

Was reading some coverage on Google's new IM product and came across this quote:

"We think communications is very important for the transmission of information," said Mr. Harik.

Communications important to the transmission of information....Yeah. Now on the upside it's damn hard to argue that. It's like saying words are important to writing. Yes, I might even be so bold as to say crucial...

Here's the link to the Journal article for those of you with a subscription.

Meeting Expectations; Thrilling Customers

Too many organizations are forgetting that it's about meeting and exceeding customer expectations. If I go into a K-mart or a Walmart, my expectations are very different than when I go into a Nordstrom. K-mart gets away with things that Nordstrom never could with me, because I expect Nordstrom to be better. Conversely, K-mart better have the cheapest (or nearly cheapest) price for my item, because, again, that's my expectation-- one that K-mart created for me.

That's probably why I was so disappointed when my sandwich at lunch yesterday wasn't cut all the way through.

What? Okay, let me explain: I discovered a wonderful lunch place a few months ago near my office. They make great sandwiches. Fresh meats and cheeses, good bread and seasonings and, perhaps most importantly, always very well made. What I mean is that the sandwich is always neat -- no stuff hanging out; it always has the right amount and proportions of ingredients -- I'm never wondering if they actually put the cheese on, or something like that; and always cut all the way through. The result is that I can eat at my desk while working and not make a mess. Sounds trivial, but it's important to me.

Yesterday, the sandwich wasn't cut all the way through and it annoyed me -- more than it should have frankly. I think it's because I felt let down. I'm over it now. Truth be told I was over it practically as it happened, but it got me to thinking about marketing and meeting expectations. That's all consumers really want; if you are going to set up an expectation through advertising or marketing, then be sure to meet and exceed it. Your customers will be thrilled.

Seth Godin wrote about something similar, but from a different angle. But in the end, his hotel was meeting his expectation. They told him, through marketing, that the fitness center was open 24 hours. Their marketing probably as told him that they were focused on his needs and comfort. So, He decided to trek down to the front desk with the expectation that they would open the fitness center. They did. He was thrilled.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

What's in a Name?

A brand name, be it a product name or company name, should connote in your audience’s mind your key positioning or messages. And, at a minimum it should not work counter to identifying your business. Sounds simple, right?

In branding circles we know that this often takes a great deal of time, money and effort. The starting point, naturally, is selecting the name. Some companies make up a word, like Kodak, which is completely free of meaning and then work on connecting it to their business. Others create descriptive names, like IBM – International Business Machine – which clearly identifies their business.

So, what were the guys who named Green Tree thinking? Green Tree, according to their tagline sells fine meats. What do green trees have to do with fine meats? I don’t know either, which is why it stuck in my mind.

I came across this company the other day completely by accident, but it really got me thinking. I’m sure there is some reason the owners decided to call their wholesale meat company Green Tree. Perhaps it is organic meat – doubtful since organic food companies tend to trumpet that distinction and these guys didn’t. Maybe their plant is on Green Tree Road? But how does that help sell meat?

I think that in today's business climate everyone is on such a kick to differentiate themselves that they are trying to take the easy way out. "I'll be different to the marketplace if I come up with a spiffy name." The problem is that they are coming up with counter-productive names. I think that this happens to the smaller guys, like Green Tree, as much as to the big boys, like Accenture. Instead, I like Seth Godin's point of view: Let's make our products and the stories that describe them more relevant.