Wednesday 26 August 2009

Is Bing faster than Usain Bolt ?

Ok, so you have to read a bit further to decipher my metaphor (suffice to say that Bing clearly isn’t Bolt)…..‘Google’ - formerly a proper noun, has effectively morphed into a verb. Yes it was slow, but is now widely accepted and understood, entering the lexicon as the verb referring ‘to execute a web search’ (ie they are the Bolt of web search).

Lets Bing it

I first heard the expression ‘let’s Bing it’ – in a sponsored section of the Rachel Zoe Project tv show earlier this week. Having taken a couple of days to ponder my reaction, I still feel that the expression frankly sounds forced and quite odd.

Although Bing has to differentiate itself from Google, (with eg their TV creative poking fun at the shortcomings of other search engines) they now go head on to challenge Googles’ ubiquity. But can you think of anyone who would get what you meant if you said “I binged that ”?.. I don’t think so !...not yet anyway.

Going for Gold

Bing works really well, looks good, and provides different results to Google, and I love any brand that offers me a better solution. So, yes I applaud Microsoft for having the tenacity to set their benchmark as at least a dead heat – and to metaphorically race their Usain Bolt.
Imagine being the Bing CMO who could also change the language – and claim to have turned Bing into a verb from a noun, let’s watch and see.

Tuesday 25 August 2009

Brands. Don’t hide the facts - talk about price rises !

Kudos to Starbucks. I’ve been impressed with the recent Twitter communication from @Starbucks and the intelligent way they have engaged their followers after raising (and also reducing) some prices, by following 2 simple rules.

1.Be Transparent
As smart users of social media they maintained transparency in their communication, and didn’t hide from the facts. The first tweet was a link to an ABC report that was neutral in overall tonality; containing both positive and negative comments about pricing, but also referenced a competitors’ success (McDonalds).

2.Be Authentic
Today they posted a tweet to savvy sugar which gave 10 tips on how to save money, nicely balancing being informative vs overtly sales focused. The tonality of the piece felt authentic, and I love this grown up approach.

By building this kind of relationship with their consumers Starbucks is adopting a winning strategy to strengthen their brand.

Monday 24 August 2009

No more crumbles…a simple way to loyalty

No more crumbled Nutrigrain bars for me ! I’m ecstatically buying them at the moment, because they have a promotion – that provides the perfect solution to my perennial squashed snack problem. For years now, when I’m on my travels I have been forced to develop makeshift solutions (eg placing them in my glasses case) to avoid the snack time disaster of a flattened, crumbled, ‘squished’ bar.

The ‘on the go’ carrier is free (with 3 tokens from purchase). I know what you’re thinking …and no despite the fact this piece reads like a press release absolutely no remuneration has been provided by Kellogg’s. This is simply the celebration and joy of a marketeer who just loves it when a brand finds such a simple and emotive way to positively surprise me and solve my problems. By doing this they strengthen their relationship with me, and make me that little bit more loyal, and less likely to buy an own label substitute.

NB Now my only dismay will be if it takes the full 90 days for me to receive it !

Sunday 16 August 2009

In search of the Remarkable: No.1 Dan Roam

Inspired by Seth Godin, I'm consistently in search of the remarkable, and this pursuit has led me to the fabulous work of Dan Roam.

Start at the Beginning
My visits to Barnes & Noble stores, are underpinned by a compulsion to browse the business section, with my working theory that the market is fuelled by 3 drivers:
a) a race to create the latest buzz word
b) a plethora of new/breakthrough 7-10 step processes that will revolutionize the way we think
c) the emerging/returning Guru with the as seen on ‘Oprah/The View/Fast Money/Today’ sticker on the front cover, (with accompanying endorsements from all the usual suspects).

The Discovery
The above theory is being threatened by Dan Roam’s book ‘The Back of the Napkin – Solving Problems and Selling Ideas with Pictures’. This literally jumped out at me; as my preference for visualizing my thinking is the core of his work - via ingenious illustrations that help captivate and inform. I just Had to buy it, and i dont think he's been on Oprah ...yet !

Demanding Attention
...But... to be honest I haven’t yet read it, as Dan’s book was in the queue - behind ‘Purple Cow’ (Seth Godin) and The Black Swan (Nassim Nicholas Taleb) which I’m attempting to read simultaneously…

Well, not any more, Dan has captivated my attention by writing 4 amazing 'Napkins' which demystify the healthcare reform debate (in the US) - leveraging his truly unique pictorial eloquence and elegance…I’m absolutely hooked, and he’s forced me into choosing him first (and hence placing on hold the other books I'm reading), and that’s what any great brand should achieve…

NB I’ll post a review when im finished, but go and check out the book website

Now that’s what I call a logo

CNN and Fortune magazine have a great piece highlighting 12 major link brand identity restages of companies with strong examples being Walmart, IBM and Starbucks. I posted last month about how much I love the restage by Pepsi – which shook my complacency with Coke drove me to try Pepsi with the ultimate result of that I switched allegiance to Pepsi. Of the examples the stand out is UPS, providing effortless proof that the colour brown can successfully be used to differentiate and connote positive attributes that engage the consumer and fit a brand so well.

Tuesday 11 August 2009

Brand Loyalty in action - Twitter CEO’s Wife Tweeting While in Labor

I love this Twitter story , a classic example, and a perfect way to spontaneously translate the benefit of a brand into something compelling and emotive.

A perfect definition of brand loyalty and brand equity in action ! PS congrats to the new parents.

Tuesday 4 August 2009

Loyalty beyond reason = Nespresso

There are some brands that just permeate the soul, and in my case one of them is Nespresso. Acquiring the newly launched Citiz machine cost me 5 hours – the time it took for a round trip to my nearest Sur Le Table store (courtesy of the Chicago area traffic). Although the official launch was 1st August I have been enjoying my machine for 2 weeks now.NB this proves the power of exclusive launches works for brands (as Sur Le Table get a 1 month head start on the other retailers).

What did I get: a) exquisite design, b) an in built milk frothing (Aerocino) for Lattes and Cappuccino’s, and c) consistently darn good tasting coffee. I have already overinvested in 200 capsules (when purchasing my welcome pack) – and cant wait for the ongoing interaction with the Nespresso Club.

My next goal is to understand how well the folks at Nespresso build their brand relationship with me.

KISS - Keep it Short and Sweet

In the current age being time poor is inevitable, with the added burden of yearning for continuous development and learning. There is however a practical way to know what’s hot, and stay ahead of the curve as efficiently as possible.

I have become an immediate fan of Seth Godin, who gets his messages across by owning the mantle of being brutally honest, repetitive and most importantly short and 'sweet'.

In ‘The Dip – the little book that teaches you when to quit (and when to stick)’’ he talks about the same 2 themes over and over, and abruptly stops after only 80 pages. Its successor ‘Tribes – we need you to lead us’ on the other hands runs a little longer (150 pages), but doesn’t stray too much from the 2 topics of leadership and avoiding mediocrity.

In tribute to Seth I leave you with my review of Tribes - in as succinct a manner as possible: provoke, frustrate, enlighten, motivate, enable !

NB I’m waiting on Amazon to deliver ‘Purple Cow’, with the hope it’s equally as short and just as engaging.