Saturday, August 31, 2013

Meet Me In The Cookie Dough Room

Ben & Jerry's could just give their meeting rooms typical names like "4B" or "6 West." But that wouldn't be that interesting or reflect who they are as a company. 

This is the sort of thing you see from companies that are truly passionate about their work.  It shines through everywhere, right down to even the most mundane stuff like the name of a meeting room. 

And it's exactly how great brands get built.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Anticipating Customer Service Hiccups

One advantage of shopping online is that they're no pushy sales people; customers can endlessly browse a store's inventory at their own pace and never feel an once of pressure. 

However, a major drawback to this is that when an online shopper does require help, eCommerce sites cannot react.

The best ecommerce sites are built to anticipate these customer service pitfalls. does this really well.  At the Tie Bar, rather than just a picture of the tie or a model wearing it, they've added settings to help customers match the item with their clothes.         

Match to Shirts and Suits

Blue Shirt and Navy Suit
This addition transforms the customer experience by removing potential guesswork and allowing customers to get the look they want and their purchase right the first time.

Australian clothing designer BlackMilk, known for its wild prints, expands on this customer-friendly eCommerce concept by allowing customers to upload photos of themselves wearing their purchase an and adding the photos to the product page.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Please Do Not Disturb

On Tuesday evening, Serve-Pro was hired by one of my neighbors to do some clean up work in a neighboring medical building. 

Unbeknownst to all of us in the neighborhood, our evening would be interrupted for two straight hours by a loud, overwhelming buzz that emanated from their truck.

Serve-Pro, while it fulfilled its promise to the customer to clean their building, did nothing to mitigate the collateral damage it would leave behind.  Perhaps they don't have to; but it's difficult to argue against the marketing possibilities of demonstrating a little extra consideration to non-customers. 

This extra step at the job site could become the best advertising for the brand precisely because they do it even when they don't have to.

As always, thank you for reading and sharing.  

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Strategizing The Launch of Al Jezeera News In America

Today, the middle eastern news network Al Jezeera made its debut in America.

However, the network might be in for rough beginning in the States.  According to a report by Sam Theilman of Adweek, advertisers are keeping their distance from the network. One media buyer was quoted as saying that despite it being "a perfect fit," they were unable to convince their client to buy time on the network.  Even a talented roster of journalists and widespread distribution though DirecTV, Comcast, Dish, Verizon FiOS and AT&T’s U-Verse were not enough to seal the deal.

The name Al Jazeera is getting in the way.  

Each election day, we're reminded of the fact that society in America isn't stagnant; consider how the gay marriage is viewed within the America compared to even just a decade ago.  The market is there (and growing) and eventually the perceived risk from advertisers will decline.

That doesn't mean that Al Jazeera America should wait for that day.  I also believe it's in the network's best interest to change its name, which, in case you're wondering, simply translates to "The Peninsula." 

According to Al Jazeera America's interim CEO Ehab Al Shihabi, 90 percent of American viewers report to enjoying it; however, 75 percent of people who have never seen it already have a negative opinion of the channel.   

A major reason is that Al Jazeera was negatively branded in America.  For many Americans, there first association with Al Jazeera is the chilling terrorist videos it was known for releasing after the September 11th terrorist attacks.  The parent network became branded this way in America twelve years ago. 

Unfortunately, that's a marketing problem that cannot be fixed with positive "dialogue [about] mission, vision and journalistic identity.” 

The good news is that it's not a real tough one to solve.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Marketers Should Look In A Mirror

If you happen to be one of the 425 million people that use Gmail for your email service, then you have probably seen the new layout that Google unveiled in April. A cool, user-friendly feature of this new version is that Google filters out promotional messages into a separate inbox or tab.

Of course, that has upset a lot of marketers who rely on the marketing pillars of interrupting and spamming consumers.  Sadly, instead of seeing this as a call to change, many marketers are ignoring this not-so-subtle hint about the value these messages deliver to consumers and scrambling to be welcomed back into consumers primary inboxes.  

Also, it's impossible to not to see the humor in these marketers getting ad at Google for adding to the "noise" with their own ads to this new inbox. 

The answer is simple but is definitely not as easy; it's to give and be something that consumers desire.  Will people ask for it, will they share it with friends and will they miss it if it's suddenly gone?

There will be no complaints from the marketers who treat those ideals as the pillars of their marketing plans. The system still works just fine. 

Monday, August 12, 2013

Lending Hatred A Helping Hand

How do hate groups make money to support themselves?

The answer is an easy one.  They collect donations the same way every other non-profit does. An vital piece of sourcing is using the services of a credit card company for payment processing.

As obvious as this is, I'll be the first to admit to being guilty of ignorance on this matter because I never really thought about the help hate groups are receiving until I read this op-ed over the weekend

I echo the sentiments of authors Jamie Chandler and Palmer Gibbs and I urge you to read it.  It's a matter of conscience.  It's easy for a big company to look the other way.  It's up to all who have a stake in these companies to make sure they don't.

As always, thank you for reading and sharing.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Compromising Creates Convoluted Advertisments

There is a new movie theater opening in my neighborhood in Cincinnati.  Naturally, the movie theater is promoting its arrival to the neighborhood with a lot advertising.  You can see their location-based strategy in the ad.  It's a good strategy considering that the closest competing theater is about 15 minutes from this area.  

That said, the execution isn't very clean.  Their ads offer a puzzling proclamation that "Your New Favorite Movie Theater Just Got Closer."  It's a statement that is really two separate thoughts - Cinemark is "your new favorite theater" and Cinemark "just got closer."  But when they're jammed together in a single statement, a really a messy marketing proposition is created. 

The first part of that statement, Cinemark is "your new favorite movie theater," is actually saying that they will be your favorite theater in the future.  They're expressing confidence that they will become your favorite after you experience a movie in their theater for first time.  Clearly, adding the word "new" drastically alters the meaning.  

Yet, the second part of the statement says that Cinemark "just got closer," implying geographically.  The location of the ad and the physical address tell us this.  Also, if there was any doubt, the giant "now open" banner is confirmation that they're not referencing "closer" in time.

Obviously, being closer to your favorite movie theater is a great thing.  But to those people who don't yet know why Cinemark so special, the same people that are being called upon with the first part of the advertisement, the fact that they're physically closer won't mean very much.

The confusion obviously stems from Cinemark claiming to be both "new" and "closer" at the same time.  It can be only one.

"Your New Favorite Movie Theater Has Arrived" or "Your Favorite Movie Theater Just Got Closer"  

Unfortunately, this ad was compromised before it ever saw the light of day.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Racing Into The Electric Car Category

Last week, BMW unveiled the i3, an electric vehicle with a driving range of 80-100 miles.  The anticipated cost for the i3 is $42, 275 and it's expected to be on the roads early next year.  BMW is the first traditional luxury automobile brand to introduce an electric vehicle, joining Nissan and Chevrolet as early competitors in the emerging electric car category.

The first three are well-established car companies with household names.  But Tesla is brand new.  They don't have the big factories or networks of dealerships already in place. So it would be natural to assume that Chevy, Nissan and BMW would have a big advantage in the race for leadership of the electric car category.

But branding is an extremely powerful element of business.  In any new category like electric cars, companies with "experience" are at a disadvantage because they've already branded themselves as something else.

Tesla has not.  They only make electric cars; that's the only thing a "Tesla" can be. But a Chevrolet, a Nissan and a BMW can be a lot of things.  They could be big cars, small cars, expensive cars, cheap cars, gas-powered cars or electric cars.  Their brand names are much more undefined.

Of course, this doesn't mean that Chevy, Nissan and BMW cannot build an electric car.  It just means it's a lot harder for these brands to sell them.
As always, thank you for reading and for sharing.