Home
  • About
  • As Seen On
  • Out Of Office
  • When business is your life.

    I caught some of the winter Olympics this year, with amazing athletes, a luge tragedy, and one commercial that really struck me. I love the Proctor and Gamble “To Their Moms, They’ll Always Be Kids” commercial! 

    I think this commercial completely holds true to their brand identity. They’ve positioned themselves as a company that is present in your everyday life, with products that you’ll use for a lifetime. Remember when I talked about making your product a habit, and ensuring that it is passed through the generations? Proctor and Gamble achieves and exemplefies this thought in the commercial. When they cut to the Mom’s face and then flash several of their well-known brands, they remind us that Olympians or not, everyone needs and uses P & G products.

    In addition to being spot-on in the brand identity department, this commercial does “emotional” the right way. Even my parents say that no matter how old I am, I’ll always be their little girl.  This commercial continues the sentiment that no matter how high you fly as an athlete, you’ll always be your parents’ baby. And, for this reason, parents always want to give their kids the best. How do they do it? By giving them P & G products! This commercial tells you that P & G wants to help you help your kids be their best, and what better way than to feature Olympians? On another “emotional” note, who can’t appreciate a bunch of cute, aspiring kids? :)

    Finally, I love the subtlety in this commercial. They don’t mention a specific product or brand until the last 5-10 seconds of the commercial. I don’t feel “sold” or “advertised” to, and I don’t have the desire to change the channel, because I’m interested in finding out who made this wonderful commercial. Just like their products, they don’t have to be invasive and in-your-face trying to get you to buy. After they connect with you by showing a proud and loyal moment, they gently remind you that this connection includes many different products from P & G, and that just as their Moms were there, P & G will be there.

    I’m not generally one to enjoy commercials, but I applaud this one from Proctor and Gamble. I think they made a brilliant use of their time and sponsorship of the Vancouver 2010 Olympics. Congrats to the athletes too :)

    Share

    While working in a retail store, I was responsible for taking the deposit to our bank. I generally worked regular hours, so I took the deposit Monday-Friday, usually around the same time, to the exact same location. It never ceased to amaze me, but when I walked in, some “greeter” would ask if I had a cash transaction, and informed me that someone would be with me in just one moment. Now, I realize that they were trying to make me feel welcome and valued, etc. etc., but let’s look at a few reasons why I saw through their “sincere” welcome.

    They followed a script. Almost to the letter, every greeter said the exact same thing! I came into the bank every single day of the week, so if you REALLY want to make me feel valued, quit giving me the spiel. The person who made me feel the most valued and welcomed was the teller who called me by name, asked about my weekend, and didn’t talk from a classroom assignment.

    They didn’t recognize me. Clearly, if I’m in the bank every day, I know the routine. Why don’t they know the routine? I don’t need to be directed where to go, told that my wait time will be “just one moment” every 5 seconds, and asked if there’s any other services that I need. If you REALLY value me, you’ll know me, and treat me like we’re old hands at this whole make-a-deposit game. Again, the teller who made me feel most valued never had to ask about how to handle the transaction, she just remembered what she did the day before.

    They were over-compensating. Apparently, the perceived wait time in banks is a huge problem, so they attempt to mitigate this problem by giving you an update about the wait time every few seconds. I understand what they’re trying to do, but I can clearly see how long the line is, how fast the tellers are moving, and when the next teller is available. You can be sincere about giving an update, but don’t over-compensate to the point that it is annoying.

    Do we see a trend here? The person at the bank that I feel values me the most is the person who remembers me, and treats me like she knows me. She gets me in and out in a timely manner, and mitigates my perceptions by ACTUALLY doing her job effectively. If you really want to making the customer feel valued, REALLY value them! You can’t fake it, and you shouldn’t have to. Customers make you or break you, so find ways to make your interactions sincere.

    Share

    Wise words of wisdom from my Mom! As I embark on the job hunt once again, my Mom reminded me that confidence goes a long way, and that sometimes a mini-makeover is just the confidence boost you need. While pondering my potential personal makeover, I started thinking about what would happen if companies decided to give their brand image a makeover.

    The ever-popular debate: to update the brand or not to update the brand, including logos, taglines, color schemes, jingles, mascots, images, etc. Some would argue that the entire point of a brand is to provide recognizable continuity for all aspects of the company, for as long as the company remains viable. Others argue that innovating the brand image with a little face-lift can help reach new markets, and breathe fresh life into a company. I think both are valid arguments, depending on the state of the company. Take Coca-Cola, a company founded over 100 years ago. Their brand image is reliable, All-American, classic, and strong, and they’ve supported this stability by actively upholding and protecting their trademark script letters. Anytime you see that script, you immediately think of Coke. This is the purpose behind the unchanging brand, the ultimate symbol of recognition. Their commercials give you that familiar comfort of a refreshing drink, and you always come back to Coca-Cola Classic. And, if you seek to uphold a brand image of stability, it is probably best to stick with a single image to represent your brand. If however, you seek an image of trendiness, evolution, “fitting in”, and attracting new people, a brand makeover would be a reasonable choice. Naturally, I must turn my attention to the logos presented by Pepsi. While they’ve kept the same color scheme and spherical red, white, and blue, they have significantly altered their look over the years. They’ve also brought in the hottest celebrities for each campaign, and the look of their cans change regularly. Clearly, they’ve been persistent in upholding and protecting a brand that embraces change, and their continual updates enhance this brand identity. I believe either strategy can work for a company, but I think they must make a clear choice about what type of brand identity they want. Companies cannot assume that a makeover will be a fix to problems they encounter, and makeovers should be used as a strategic part of the overall company plan.

    So, does your brand image need a makeover, or are you confident that you’ve built a brand image to last a lifetime?

    Share

    In an effort to help potential employers get to know me, I made this introductory video and posted it on YouTube. I’m an advocate of social media and connecting with customers, so I thought it fitting to use this tool to help put myself out there. Please enjoy my take on Marketing and work culture, and take a look at my resume if you’re looking to hire a Marketing professional!

    Click on this video to hear my thoughts on how technology is changing the marketing landscape.

    Click on this video to hear about why I chose a career in marketing, and find out about some of my early career experience in the field.

    Share

    Think what you will, but I must admit that I’m a “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Private Practice” fan. And, when a new show, “The Deep End”, premiered on ABC, I started to get hooked on that too. Then, the Marketing wheels started turning, and I thought back to my college days of investigating placement for different SKUs in stores. You want your products at eye-level for the consumer, and you want to cross-sell and up-sell different items together. It seems this is also true in television, and they’ve managed to sell me another show.

    “The Deep End” definitely appeals to the same audience as the shows it preceeds in the evening line-up. I think it was an intentional and brilliant move to put it directly before “Grey’s” and “Private Practice”, and core audiences from both shows can start their evening earlier. Also, since it debuted later in the season, viewers can use this show as a “fix” while waiting for the next season of the other two shows. Viewers always complain during the lull between seasons, so giving them a snack should help quell their appetites and their frustration while awaiting the arrival of their beloved shows. It’s a win for ABC, as viewers stay hooked and in-tune with the network. More viewers, more often, equals higher ratings and more ad sales for ABC. This is a pretty obvious connection, and networks do it all the time… I’m just particularly interested because I see how Marketing and strategy worked on a personal level. I always enjoy this realization, as it gives me time to analyze why I feel that way, or why this tactic sold me. As I settle down for my new evening line-up, I have to give some credit to ABC… you pegged me right :)

    Share

    My husband is an avid blog-reader, and came across a blog by Paul Graham. He sent over the following links for my reading pleasure:

    http://www.paulgraham.com/determination.html

    http://www.paulgraham.com/love.html

    http://www.paulgraham.com/wealth.html

     

    Can I just say much I enjoyed reading these articles? I relate to each one, and I love the in-depth analysis on determination, loving what you do, and what it means to be wealthy.

    The first link talks about the anatomy of determination, and how willfulness, ambition, balance, and discipline figure into the “equation” of determination. If you’ve ever wondered why you are determined but unsuccessful, this article may help change your course of action.

    The second link sends you to an article titled “How To Do What You Love”. This post delves into the paradox between work and play that is set up by our society. From an early age, we teach children that work and play are separate, and that work is necessity, while play is for enjoyment. Then, as the years progress, we tell to them to “find a job that they love”. This is an oxymoron for most, because they’ve been raised to believe that the two are mutually exclusive. Take a look at this post and see how you feel about finding a way to do what you love.

    The last link discusses different definitions of wealth, and what it means to be truly wealthy. The author implies that money does not make someone wealthy, but rather the power to do what he wants makes him truly wealthy. If this is the case, money is just a tool, so chasing after money is really chasing after the wrong goal. After reading this article, you may change your view of wealth.

    I really enjoyed these articles by Paul Graham, and I highly encourage you to take the time to read and think about the concepts he develops in each of these blog posts.

     

    Share

    Have I talked about the brilliance of Michael’s? Michael’s is one of my favorite craft stores, and I usually enter with anticipation, and leave with my hands full of wonderful scrapbooking materials. And the best part… my receipt is a coupon for 40% an item, valid for the following week!

    Let’s talk about why this is so brilliant. First, it’s a really good coupon, and generally catches my attention. Second, it’s in a form that I usually take anyways, so there’s no extra piece of paper for them to try to force me to take. Third, it’s valid the very next week, so there’s an instant gratification piece for me, and a returning customer each week for them. Fourth, most crafters can’t have just one, so if you can get me in the store again, I will probably buy several items. Fifth, it just makes me happy :) I know those are 5 quick reasons, but such a simple idea really makes me feel good as a crafter, and thoughtful as a Marketer.

    I think this is a great example of an offer you can’t refuse that also benefits the bottom line. When you give customers extra reasons to come in to the store or make a purchase, they are much more likely to do just that. It sounds really simple, but you have to balance the amazing offer (aka: giving things away just to attract people) and the bottom line (aka: buy 100 and get 1 free!). I think Michael’s has done a superb job, and I will continue to enjoy this offer I can’t refuse :)

    Share

    I’ve been thinking a lot about brand identity, and a recent trip to Taco Bell had me laughing about brand identity. They’ve recently introduced “The Drive-Thru Diet”, featuring their Fresca menu. The Fresca menu highlights items with under 9 grams of fat, which is pretty low for a Taco Bell meal. However, “The Drive-Thru Diet” takes it a step further, promoting Taco Bell as a healthy option on your road to weight-loss. WHAT!?!? Hold on a minute… Taco Bell as a weight-loss option? Excuse me while I laugh again at that thought.

    It may sound harsh, but does anyone really believe that Taco Bell is a viable option for weight-loss? No. And, quite frankly, Taco Bell should be glad for that, as they’ve spent millions on ad campaigns for late-night meals, and cheap convenience. I loved their “Fourth Meal” campaign and drive-thru windows that stayed open late, and feel that both of those promotions held true to the brand. I just worry that they are putting a lot of effort into something that will ultimately fail because it doesn’t hold true to their brand.

    I’m sure Taco Bell has a good reason for launching this new promotion. My thought would be that they are trying to appeal to health-conscious mothers who are trying to feed their children and themselves on short notice. My next thought was that New Year’s Resolutions might offer the perfect opportunity to introduce this new line.

    There are always opportunities to move into new markets, but you need to think carefully about what your brand stands for, and how people perceive your brand. If you depart to heavily from the brand identity you’ve cultivated, you may alienate your core audience. So, how many of you are planning to use “The Drive-Thru Diet” to reach your New Year’s Resolutions?

    Share

    It’s happened to all of us: the rude customer service agent, the To-go order with no utensils, the long waiting times, and an all-around awful experience. Since it’s happened to all of us, it stands to reason that every business has had a hand in giving customers a bad experience. So how do companies save face, keep their integrity, and maintain customer loyalty?

    The product recall: Most of us would consider a product recall to be a bad sign for a company. However, a voluntary recall can actually help the company! When companies voluntarily recall a product for safety reasons, they show that they care about their customers more than their profits. A voluntary recall also allows the company to maintain control of the situation and the communication about the situation, rather than letting customers and reporters dictate communication. Take the Tylenol recall by Johnson and Johnson in 1982. After several fatal incidents, it was found that Tylenol had been poisoned by someone from the outside. Johnson and Johnson took the product off the shelves, and re-introduced it with heavier packaging to ensure that no one could tamper with their products. This prompt and thorough reaction helped company maintain its reputation of trust, and now Tylenol is one of the most popular over-the-counter drugs on the market.

    The immediate fix: Sometimes it’s unnecessary to completely recall a product, and a “quick-fix” can help a company save face. While shopping at Bed, Bath and Beyond, I heard a customer trying to return an office chair at Customer Service. He stated that the chair would not maintain its height when he adjusted it. After looking at the model number, the Customer Service employee stated that the manufacturer was aware of the problem, and was offering a special part for free to fix the issues with the adjustment. She gave the part to the customer with simple instructions, and he left happy with the result. By simply taking action to resolve a problem, the manufacturer kept their customers happy in spite of a problem with the initial product. Most food establishments manage problems this way, by offering to re-make your drink, or throw your steak back on the grill for an extra minute if it is under-cooked. The immediate fix can be a face-saving and money-saving tool.

    Give a genuine apology: This may sound like a given, but sometimes customers just want an apology. If there is a way to offer an immediate fix, companies should take time to make these offers to customers. However, if there’s not a quick fix, find a way to offer a genuine apology. Most customers are frustrated because they feel that companies just don’t care about them, and that because companies don’t care, problems will continue to arise. By offering a genuine apology, a timeline for corrective action, and assurance that it will not happen in the future, a company can show that it does care about its customers.

    Bad experiences are going to happen, but it’s how you deal with the situation that seals the deal for customers. What are your strategies for dealing with customers who have a bad experience?

    Share

    I grabbed pizza at Sbarro during a shopping trip with my sister, and at the end of the meal, I mentioned that Sbarro had started doing what Papa John’s has been doing for the last 10 years: garlic sauce. However, Sbarro is offering garlic sauce as an upsell for $0.65 per container. After finishing my pizza and barely making a dent in the container of garlic sauce, I told my sister that I was pretty disappointed with my decision to purchase the garlic sauce because I didn’t eat enough to warrant buying it. I know it’s only $0.65, but relative to the enjoyment and the total ticket price, that’s a decent upsell. Maybe it’s just me and my Marketing mind, but I had a few thoughts on how they might improve this upsell.

    First, I felt they needed to offer two different size containers, one for single slices, and the other for whole pizzas. Since I don’t know their margins, I suggested a price of $0.25 for the single-serve container, and $1.00 for the larger container. I figured that a $0.25 is a no-brainer, and that every customer who likes garlic sauce would be happy to make the purchase. After their meal, they would feel satisfied and compelled to order garlic sauce each time they ate at Sbarro. The same logic applies to those purchasing an entire pizza. An additional $1.00 on a $12+ sale takes very little thought, and increases their satisfaction enough to compel them to purchase garlic sauce as well.

    The art of the upsell can be tricky. You don’t want customers walking away feeling uneasy or dissatisfied about their purchase. Instead, you want them feeling that they made a great impulse decision, and due to their satisfaction with that decision, make the upsell part of their regular purchase. When you attempt to upsell, you need to consider how it benefits the customer, not just how it benefits the bottom line. If customers feel cheated or tricked by the upsell, you hurt the possibilities for future purchases. So, how have you made upsells work for you?

    Share
     Page 35 of 37  « First  ... « 33  34  35  36  37 »