Sunday, October 26, 2014

Love for Southwest's "Wedding Season" Commercial


I love this commercial for Southwest Airlines.  The low fares message is right on strategy and the ad gets high-marks tactically as well.  Their message is conveyed in an interesting way without using erroneous storylines, jokes or useless noise.

The only question I have is the timing of it.  Although the "wedding season gets expensive" pitch is a fantastic one which really resonates (especially with us twenty and thirty-somethings), I wonder if it might be more relevant in February or March?  I debated this for a second, but within minutes, was looking up flights on their website for a wedding I'll be attending next April.  The ad motivated action.  But as I suspected, there is a limit to that action as customers cannot quite book dates for the next wedding season yet.

Otherwise, this ad is flawless.   

As always, I'd love to hear your thoughts on this topic and any other interesting marketing-related musings.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

At the Root of a Rant

I absolutely love this rant by Steve McKee on the cookie-cutter experience of hotel convention spaces.  
The rickety, two-foot-by-six-foot tables that leave no space to set up a notepad and coffee cup (to say nothing of a laptop, which is fitting because the one power strip is on the floor across the room and already filled up by the guy in the short-sleeve dress shirt who showed up early).
The chairs set so neatly next to one another, which looked nice and uniform in an empty room but put you knee-to-knee with the stranger (or worse—colleague) sitting next to you.
The shallow cups, lukewarm coffee, hot water that isn’t hot and limited tea selection.
The cloth napkins that have zero absorbency and branded pens that don’t write.
And later in the day, the elfin glasses, watery ice and room-temperature cans of soda that are all products of either the Pepsi-Cola Company or the Coca-Cola Company (corporate contract, you know).
All topped by the snack—fist-sized oatmeal, chocolate chip and peanut butter cookies that are irresistible at 3:00 and put you into a coma by 3:15. Good thing the room is freezing or you’d be asleep on the table (or your neighbor’s lap, which is conveniently close by). It would make for an embarrassing Instagram post if only the wifi worked.
Everyone's attended that meeting.  But the purpose isn't of this isn't to simply vent about lazy hotels.  Dissatisfaction (or downright contempt) of something is the perfect starting point for improving upon it.  As McKee puts it, "the way it has always been done is not the way it must always be done."  The best marketers will recognize this and, most importantly, do something about it.

As always, I'd love to hear your thoughts on this topic and any other interesting marketing-related musings.

Monday, October 13, 2014

An Open Letter to the Pegula Family

Typically, I stick to publishing about marketing topics, but on this occasion, I want to share something a little more personal.  If you clicked on here to read about business and branding, I won't be offended if you stop reading now.    

When I meet someone for the first time, it's without a doubt that one of the first things they will learn about me is that I grew up on the western side of New York State.  I was born and raised in Rochester - a fact that I am distinctly proud of.   Pride is a common trait among the citizens that call Western New York home.  In spite of its well-documented shortcomings, which often paint the picture of an abandoned land where the only jobs left are snow plow drivers, we are very proud of the place we call home.

If you've lived in Western New York, you probably know slightly different story than the one accepted by outsiders.  There is amazing bond among its residents rarely found in many cities across America.  The cities and towns that dot the map across the western portion of New York State are incredibly tight-knit despite their physical proximity. Perhaps the long, treacherous winters they share each year have something to do with it.
 
But it's undeniable that our sports teams also play a significant role.  Not only do the Bills and Sabres represent our community on a national stage, but, far more importantly, they bring together families, friends and strangers, galvanizing their bond to the community and to one another.  It's really why we care so much about a game.  At times, our teams feel like an extension of our families - their joy is our joy and their pain is our pain too.

Which is why the thought of losing our beloved Bills was so terrifying.  It would have been a double-whammy: another blunt reminder of all the losses our community has endured over the years while simultaneously fracturing a source of strength in the community and connection to it.  Thankfully, we can finally forget this thought that has terrorized us for decades. 

For this reason, I must express my sincerest gratitude to Terry and Kim Pegula and their family for preserving the Bills as a pillar of our community.  Your dedication and profound generosity means more to us than you could ever know.  In all of our cities and towns that are filled with good neighbors, you're truly some of the best.       

Thanks for keeping our Bills in the family.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Shout-out to Jimmy John's

The smallest things can impress a customer. 

A quick example.  Fast food is full of forgettable service, but last week, I experienced a Jimmy John's employee giving full effort at the end of the night when it would have been really easy to just go through the motions.  I was impressed enough to share this quick note.

Good evening,

I just want to send a quick kudos to an employee that made a recent Jimmy John's experience a memorable one.  On October 1, I visited the Red Bank Road location at approximately 9 pm.  When I walked in I was a bit surprised when I was the fourth person waiting in line - I had figured it was late and I'd be the only customer looking for a bite at this hour. 

But Jimmy John's employee Jordan (per the receipt) really shined in this opportunity to delight customers.  It appeared as if she was the only employee in the building at the time and she really hustled to get all the customers orders taken and made with the same speed they're used to.  My wait was very short and I really appreciated it. 

She deserves recognition for this moment because, as everyone has experienced themselves, it's quite normal in the service industry for employees to cringe or sigh when customers walk in at the end of the night after the cleaning has begun.

Truly appreciate the her effort and great attitude... a pleasant surprise that won't soon be forgotten.

Best,

Alex Villeneuve
 
Her effort made all the difference in my experience that night.  Let's not forget that it's moments like these by employees like Jordan that validate Jimmy John's brand positions like "freaky fast."