Archive for May, 2008
On Wednesday we threw a surprise clambake lunch party?for Humboldt Storage and Moving a Boston Moving Company (one of our clients). I worked with Dan Komm in a very “Mission Impossible” like scenario to surprise everyone at their corporate headquarters in Canton, Ma.
The party was a BIG success as all got to enjoy Maine Lobstahs, Steamahs, cahn on the cawb etc.
We’ve help?re-position Humboldt?as the “Stress Reducing” moving company. This was our way of reducing a little of their stress as they move (pardon the pun) into their extremely busy summer?schedule.
Some pics of our happy, relaxed partners in crime:
I have some questions?
What is Microsoft’s brand identity? I know Mac’s/Apple’s but I couldn’t tell you Microsoft’s.
Do you think by trying to make your company look “cool” you’ll suddenly develop brand ambassadors? Mac users ARE TRUE brand ambassadors, that’s a fact.
Thirdly do you find it ironic that Crispin Porter + Bogusky will be designing these ads for Microsoft using Apple products? Yup, they’re a Mac shop.
I smell failure on the way. I hope that part of this advertising strategy is devloping a brand identity as part of the program.
Bloggers are taking over the world. And they’re turning the tables on business and how customer service and branding?is being delivered. Case in point;
Cleveland residents Brenda and Gerald Moran are experienced cruisers and big fans of Royal Caribbean. They were so happy with the cruise line they averaged two cruises a year for the past three years. They even bought the company?s stock.
Sounds like they are true brand ambassadors.
But with almost every cruise came complaints. Some very legitimate complaints (like sewage spilling into their living area from their toilet). So they documented those complaints on Cruise Critic. Apparently Royal Caribbean didn’t like their opinions being posted so they banned the couple from taking another cruise with them forever.
Bam, talk bad about us and take off!
Earlier in the year Sprint fired over 1000 customers for complaining too much. Interesting huh? Problem is for every Brenda and Gerald Moran that gets banned there are 5 more to jump in and share their negative opinions. Here’s the scoop…take bloggers seriously.
Here’s what Royal Caribbean says on their website:
Your happiness is our biggest priority, and we’ll do everything to makes sure you get the most out of your cruise vacation. Sailing with your family Gathering a few friends together for a reunion? Planning to say, “I do”? Or “I’d do it all over again”? We have programs and packages that will make any occasion special.
It’s like every day’s your birthday when you sail with us. We cater to your every whim so you’re completely free to adventure on. How will we make sure every second of your cruise vacation is everything you hoped for? With our Gold Anchor Service. You’ll have one of the friendliest crews on water ready to show you the time of your life.
Here’s what I would of done if I were Royal Caribbean?(and maybe some genius over there will read this post). Instead of banning customers turn them into brand ambassadors.
1. Ask them to participate in surveys for you. Tell them you want their input and value it.
2. Hear their complaints and acknowledge them and ask them to help with solutions. These people MAY very well be big complainers but when you involve them in the solution they become allies.
3. Sponsor a blog for them. Tell them you want them to post every time they take a cruise with you good or bad. Some of their complaints were legit.
4. Just get them actively involved and working for you, not against you.
The problem with Royal Caribbean and other companies is that they are being called out by bloggers. When something goes bad people write about it. You think bloggers are going to stop sharing their opinions? When you have a good experience you might tell 3 people about it, a bad experience? That number triples.
Word of mouth is no longer two friends chatting. It’s chatting via blogs, Facebook, twitter etc. etc. etc. People are going to tell their story, accept it, embrace it or be prepared to be firing lots and lots of returning customers.
Get your heads out of the early 2000′s. Open up channels of communication and put your company in the blogging mix. Remember it’s your brand identity and brand image at stake here.
We don’t sell widgets. Which is why we don’t participate in?RFP’s (request for proposals). You know who participates in RFP’s? Desperate people. If you find yourself in an RFP situation you’re officially cooked. Because RFP’s = commodity. Are you selling a commodity?
I recently got a call from the purchasing manager at Lowe’s. They wanted us to participate in a branding RFP. First I asked her nicely if she could define branding. Ah, she said, would you like to be in it? I said we’d be happy to meet with the marketing team. She said Lowe’s doesn’t work that way, you must complete the RFP.
I said nicely that branding was not like ordering copy paper. Branding is intimate, strategic and ultimately the most important thing a company could do. I respectfully declined.
She was shocked. She replied you do know we’re Lowe’s right? Yup, not interested. If Lowe’s can’t take the time to meet with companies concerning their branding then they’re not the right fit for Brand Identity Guru.
More articles on why not to participate in RFP’s:
Green cars, green this, green that. Every company in the world is green. You’re shunned if you drive a big SUV. Hogwash, all of it. They’re all hypocrites!
I just read a blog post over at Seth Godin’s titled “Packaging for Retail”. Here’s an excerpt:
Item 1: My Logitech cordless remote (which I like a lot) came in plastic, non-recyclable packaging that weighed twice as much as the remote itself.* The plastic was so well sealed and so thick that I actually broke a kitchen knife trying to open it. (*this is not hyperbole. I weighed it).
This is expensive, time-consuming and positions the product as extremely ungreen.
Seth mentions “being green” a lot. But here’s where he’s hypocritical (like most people). He writes books. Books are made from? Paper. Paper means cutting down trees? Is that green? Okay, so it’s assumed the books he writes are on recycled paper right? BUZZZZZ. Check out his latest book “Meatball Sundae”, ah, er…not made from recycled paper as far as I can see. No pretty recycled logo I can find anywhere. Hypocritical if in fact true? Me thinks so. If he were REALLY green he’d sell his book online but I have to guess that there is no money in that.
Companies try and say they are green (marketing spin) but they’re really not. They do some limited “stuff” but in reality what they do is pointless. People say they are green by doing limited “stuff” like recycling, buying smaller cars etc.
But if you want to be green, really green then do it. Don’t just change a few things and think you’re saving the world because you’re not. Stop having children, that’s green. More people on this earth is the worst thing you can do if you’re really green. Walk to work with shoes made from something that doesn’t add to the greenhouse effect (good luck with that one).
You see being green requires a commitment. A real genuine commitment. Not a hypocritical, sort of green, try and make yourself look good commitment. Being green is a lifestyle. It’s not something you brag about to your friends.
That’s why 99% of people who say they are green are hypocrites. I don’t say I’m green even though I’m more green than most of the 99%.
Many contemporary marketers believe that positioning is now outdated. In fact, McDonald?s chief global marketing officer Larry light said: ?Identifying one brand position, communicating it in a repetitive manner is old-fashioned, out of date, out of touch.? What is your response?
I had a big fight with Larry light and I wrote several counter articles. Larry Light doesn?t know what he is talking about. He has jumped up and said positioning is obsolete. The problem with Larry light is that he has not been able to understand positioning. He never has. I know Larry. And I told Larry that he has not been able to do a good job of positioning accounts. So I told him here is your deal: ?if you want the answer to what you are, I will give it to you.? I said, in essence, here is your (McDonald?s) positioning. You are the ?world?s favorite place to eat?. That?s your concept. That is it. That is a leadership position. And that?s a very powerful idea. And I published that idea. But I know he won?t use it because I wrote it. That?s why I gave it to him. I think Larry has no clue to what positioning is all about.
Click over to read the rest of the article, good stuff!
I’m all for a good logo design but no one caught this mishap?
Here’s a case where the two words should obviously be split up. But instead it looks like Kid Sex Change. I can’t make this stuff up ya’ll.
Replace said sign and start again.
It used to be you could order videos of movies upcoming before they were released. Since the new web deign I don’t see that option. And the navigation is frustrating. So I decided to sign up for Blockbuster Online. I used both services for a few months but ultimately I like the functions Blockbuster gives me (what Netflix use to offer).
So I decided to cancel my membership with Netflix. When I clicked on cancel this is the message I got:
Still Want to Cancel?
Below are several things to keep in mind once you cancel your Netflix Service account.
Cancellation will be effective immediately. There are no refunds for partial months. You can sign up for Netflix Service again at any time; however, you will not be eligible for another free Netflix Service offer.
Outstanding rentals must be returned to Netflix within 7 days of cancellation. If you cancel, you must return all outstanding rentals within 7 days, or we’ll automatically charge your credit card for the unreturned DVDs. No refunds or credits are given for partial months or unwatched movies.
We’ll send you an email confirming your cancellation.
I accept and understand the terms of cancellation and want to cancel my account.
Wow, so much for thanking me for being a good customer and we hope to see you back soon huh? What kind of policy is this to say goodbye to a customer. I guess it’s one that says take off loser, we don’t want you back. Let’s look at step by step:
1. There are no refunds for partial months.Why? If I quit on the 1st I still have to pay for the month? Sorry Netflix this is short sighted. What I would say is You’ll receive a credit for whatever days are left and then thank the customer for their business. How’s this for an approach;
We’re sorry to see you go and hope to once again be able to serve you. You will receive a credit for whatever days are left during your month once all movies have been returned. Doesn’t that sound more inviting Netflix?
2. You can sign up for Netflix Service again at any time; however, you will not be eligible for another free Netflix Service offer.
Fine, what am I trying to scam Netflix into constant free offers? This is offensive to the honest Joe. And I’m certainly not racing back into your arms!
3. If you cancel, you must return all outstanding rentals within 7 days, or we’ll automatically charge your credit card for the unreturned DVDs.
This one is the doozy. As you know while a member I can keep a movie for as long as I’d like. I’ve kept movies for weeks sometimes. It was never a problem with Netflix. Now I cancel and I have a measly 7 days to get all the rentals back or I pay for the movies again? What a jerk move towards the lost customer.
Everything in this cancellation notice is bad. Bad for the customer and ultimately it shows the customer just what Netflix thought of them. Nothing!
So I’ve emptied my que in anticipation of cancelling. Then I’ll send all the movies back, wait for Netflix to confirm receipt (since I have no other movies in my que) and cancel them. Forever.
No one wants to lose a customer but there’s no reason to make them feel bad when they leave. You never know if they may be back.
p.s. Netflix, I most likely would have come back if the website was updated but your policy is just to selfish and antiquated.
So what does SMUD mean? Well it’s the Sacramento Municipal Utility District of course. Yippe it’s SMUD!
SMUD delivers huh?? Well apparently they couldn’t?deliver a better name and just went with this acronym. Now these guys (SMUD) are no small organization. Here’s some info on SMUD:
As the sixth largest publicly owned utility in the country in terms of customers served, our innovative energy programs are known throughout the state, nation and world. SMUD’s purpose is to provide solutions for meeting our customers’ electrical energy needs. Our vision is to be a leader in customer satisfaction and a positive force in promoting community benefits.
Here’s the deal. Once they decided to shorten their name they should have gone through a naming process (maybe they did). When SMUD was suggested, well it should have been discarded. Why? Well it’s not very inviting is it? It’s kind of silly don’t you think?
I know they wanted to shorten this name up and I feel for them but SMUD is not the answer. Maybe the new President of the SMUD?board Larry Carr can step up an address what needs to be at least discussed.