Fast Feedback

20 11 2008

David Armano has posted another great article, Creating a Rapid Response Culture.  The case he makes is inevitable but tough for companies to face:  as the distance between consumer and company shrinks, the expectation for feedback and results grows.  

I’m currently working with clients who are a bit leery of what will be required of them when they open up a direct channel to the customers.  The truth is, it will probably be a bit of a burden handling all of the requests and complaints, pings and Tweets.  But that’s okay.  Because it’s far better to hear what the customers are saying than to bury one’s head in the sand.  And, even if we can’t address every single customer in quick turn-around, we can pick and choose important conversations to engage in immediately.

I see a big opening in the job market for a new breed of customer service rep that answers this growing stream of feedback.  The ability to talk 1-to-1 with consumers and address their needs, ideas, complaints and praises is going to be a competitive differentiator.



14 11 2008

I am a big fan of movie trailers.  The kind that build real anticipation, that tease you with a taste of what the movie’s going to be like without spilling every plot point and surprise.  [I’m almost as excited about the trailers as I am about seeing the new Bond movie tonight]   The newest one to get me totally stoked is


(click on image to go to teaser trailer)

Not only does this trailer do a great job at creating a “WOW” factor it gives you something to take home with you – an assignment:


From this we are led into the Incan lore about the end of days which supposedly occurs on December 21, 2012.  There are a ton of sites that come up on Google and one has to wonder if this is true or another genius guerilla marketing campaign.  Either way, they’ve got my attention.  Check out this awe-inspiring screen shot:


Dell One-Ups H-P?

12 11 2008

A couple of weeks ago, I opined that H-P should ramp up its marketing play in the small business/entrepreneur sector.  Over in India, it looks like Dell is running with this:

As reported by Matthew Creamer in “Dell Bows India Campaign” in AdAge, Dell’s campaign is a biggie and spans print, digital and broadcast.  

The tagline (“I Choose My Own Path.  I Choose Dell.” is empowering.  The visuals, are inspiring.  A potent combination in an economy where self-reliance (vs. corporate reliance) is making a comeback.

H-P, are you paying attention?

Can You Swallow a $4 Cup o’ Joe in This Economy?

12 11 2008

Take a look at this.  Specifically, check out the net income.

Earnings charts

It’s a good thing that Starbucks added a high-margin, low-cost, basic menu item like oatmeal because their premium coffee drinks are going to take a hit.  Starbucks should reexamine its basic drip coffee business, how they can make it more attractive to loyal customers who might have to downsize their coffee habits but don’t want to do without the experience.  First stop – look at the variety of drip coffees available and the “condiments” with which to accessorize said drip coffees.  They’ve got the basics down but they’ve got to make those condiment stations not look so ghetto and ratty.  Starbucks, you’ve got to make drip coffee fun.

Marketing Luxury in a Recession

12 11 2008

This little nugget just in from Stephanie Clifford and Stuart Elliott over at the New York Times.  

As the economy rapidly deteriorates from flourishing to floundering, marketers are scrambling to remake their advertising so products seem affordable and sensible rather than indulgent and fabulous. For many big marketers, including automakers, retailers, consumer product companies and even financial services, a major shift in consumer psychology spells an end to the aspirational advertising that has dominated their campaigns for the last decade.

I don’t know if this is an end to “aspirational advertising” so much as it is a (temporary) end to gluttonous over-consumption.  The trick for marketers of luxury goods is to position their products as essential luxuries – the little things that are meaningful to us and make us feel good in a deeply important way.  The things we can’t do without.  For some, it’s an iPhone.  For others, it’s Chanel No. 5.

If the new marketplace of essential luxuries comes to be, then a lot of the crap born of the excesses from the last decade should render themselves obsolete.

Thank you, Starbucks

5 11 2008

It’s November 5th and, yes, I am feeling a bit optimistic today.  Thank you to Starbucks for pointing out to us in their TV ad campaign (Omnicom Group’s BBDO) that it’s important to not just care about Election Day, but to care the day after – enough to wonder what we will do next with our democracy.

I took advantage of the Starbucks’ free drink promo (even though I’m a Peet’s devotee).  I was aware how, on a rational level, I enjoyed the free coffee but on an irrational level, standing in a long line for my free cup of coffee made me feel like I was connected to something bigger.  Kudos for tying your brand to the big idea of participation.  Your campaign, Starbucks, got my vote.