Monday, December 22, 2008

Shoe Thrown At Bush Sells Like Crazy

Wow, a marketing technique that got right past me: Get a reporter to throw something (how about a shoe) at an international leader (especially a very unpopular one like George Bush). Result? 300,000 orders for that type of shoe within a week of the attack. 4 times the amount of orders for the shoe since 1999.

Without the internet, it's just news. Without social media, it's a slow build. Put them together and it's an international phenom.

Hmmm. I guess Nike will need to rethink sponsoring athletes. Would it be a conflict of interest for reporters to wear logos like NASCAR drivers? Ok, maybe I've taken this a little too far... or have I?

Marketing is no longer in the marketer's control.

Remember that.


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Dell makes $1 million from its Tweets

$1 million sounds like a lot but in comparison to Dell's annual sales it's not very much at all. Even so, it does show that as Twitter continues to become more and more popular with the mainstream, opportunities for businesses to monetize Twitter will also grow.

So put on your brainstorming cap, sharpen your pencil and figure out how to make your own million using Twitter.

Keep on Twittering,


Monday, December 15, 2008

Build a Ballpark and Your City Will Grow

I've always been a skeptic of the saying "build it and they will come" from the movie, "Field of Dreams." But it seems I may need to rethink things in light of new research from Wharton real estate professor Albert Saiz and Gerald A. Carlino of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.

They found that "American cities with consumer leisure opportunities that appealed to visitors were also able to attract additional new residents over the course of the 1990s, the decade they examined. On average, cities offering more leisure advantages -- like an attractive waterfront or museums -- gained an additional 2% in population over less attractive counterparts during this 10-year period; some "beautiful cities" like Boston and New York that didn't have the ability to add housing to meet increased demand instead saw a sharp increase in housing prices and rents."

Sounds like Richard Florida, author of the book, "The Rise of the Creative Class" just got some additional validation.

One caveat, though. The last time a civic improvement trend occurred was from the 1890's to the 1920's. The trend ended when it ran into the Great Depression. Will the trend of new ballparks and river walks end with the current recession? Maybe I won't have to rethink things after all.

In the end, cities with strong positive brands are the ones that will be best positioned for growth.

Be strong,


Friday, December 12, 2008

Brands on Twitter... ban or embrace?

First, let me say that "I Love Mashable." OK, now that I've gotten that out of the way on with the blog post.

Social media is about conversations. As the title of Robert Scoble's book, "Naked Conversations" implies, transparency is a key to the effectiveness of social media. This article from Mashable makes the argument that people have relationships with people therefore brand only twitter sites are just plain wrong.

I agree and disagree. I agree that having a human face to a brand makes a brand more real. However, I also believe you can have a relationship with a brand. See the New Coke story for example. Taste didn't matter, the relationship with what came to be known as classic Coke was so strong that Coke killed the better tasting product. Twitter brand sites need to be careful though. Cold, marketspeak on Twitter is just plain wrong. I don't say ban it, but just know you won't be successful if you don't have real conversations.

Be real,


Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Branding Is About Better Decision Making

From conversations I've had recently, I've come to the conclusion that most people still believe that managing a business is very different than branding and marketing a business.

I disagree vehemently to this way of thinking. Management and Marketing are in a real way the same thing.

To manage a business you have to understand it. You have to organize it and make sure each piece is doing what it needs to do to reach goals that accomplish the company's mission.

On the other hand, to discover a company's brand you have to find the intersection of what prospects, customers, management, employees, alliances, vendors and all the other audiences want from or value in the company.

So if you first take the time to discover your brand, you'll be able to more clearly make decisions regarding how to organize your business correctly, which people to hire, what processes to put in place, which technology to purchase, what vendors to work with, etc., etc... and you'll also be a more efficient and effective marketer because you'll be focused on communicating what you do best that the customer values most.

To build a better business that can meet the current economic challenges start with your brand.

Stay Focused,


How Sam Zell Killed The Tribune Co.

Article from Forbes on how Sam Zell saved and then killed the Tribune Co.

It goes to show that knowing how to run one type of business doesn't always translate to being able to run all types of businesses. Zell treated the Tribune Co. like his real estate development business and loaded on debt. We all know the result that was announced yesterday - bankruptcy.

The lesson - know your business and be smart with your money. Zell thought he could buy the Tribune leveraged to the hilt, then sell the Cubs and pay down his debt. It may have worked, but he he couldn't sell it in time. Are you listening GM, Ford and Chrysler?

Be Wise,


Monday, December 08, 2008

Does Brainstorming Help Innovation Occur?

Interesting article that concludes that individual "aha" moments come from group efforts. The article also finds that brainstorming is a waste, but more "systematic inventive thinking" produces more innovations.

Even so, I still like the brainstorming process when it's focused. One of my favorite quotes is "don't let the facts get in the way of a great idea." Don't get me wrong. I'm a research guy, but there are times when "gut" wins out. For me, this is one of those gut things.

Be an innovator,


Thursday, December 04, 2008

Cisco wants to be a Leadership Consulting Firm?

Read this article in Fast Company today.

Cisco's business model is fascinating. From what I can tell they have created these groups and councils that will have the authority to make decisions about new products, services, businesses, etc. without having to get approval from the c-suite. It has worked so far, especially in speed to market with new products. They also have expanded their definition of who they are (which in the long run may or may not be a good thing) to more consulting oriented offerings that connect more to their business model than to their technology offerings. Can the firm known for offering the plumbing supplies of the internet add leadership/management consulting to the mix successfully? I'm not so sure. IBM did a pretty good job at this but in the end they transitioned to become more consultant than technology producer. Time will tell. Having $26 billion to play with doesn't hurt their chances... or does it?



Monday, December 01, 2008

Lay-a-way for a New Generation

Saw this from DirectDispatch that Lay-a-ways are back in vogue now that credit is crunched.

I think lay-a-ways fit both today's economy and today's dominant generation. If hype is out and genuineness and authenticity are in, Lay-a-ways making a comeback just makes sense. It's a way to get what you want in a more "real" way than sliding plastic. But from a branding perspective, a lot of negative brand equity has to be cleared away to make lay-a-ways cool. Do you think the current economic pressures people are feeling are enough to overcome the stigma? I'm not so sure.

Be real,