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Posted by on Nov 29, 2009 in Branding | 0 comments

Stepping Down to Step Up

Here is an excerpt from a blog I stumbled across: Today we’re going to take a little trip in the wayback machine with the help of my colleague Seth Manheim, who was there when this happened. Set the date to November 22, 1989, twenty years ago and one day. Bill Gates is being taken on a guided tour of the product support department’s new office building, and during his visit, he asks one of the people manning the phones, “Mind if I take this call?” Bill puts on a headset, sits down, and answers the phone. “Hello, this is Microsoft Product Support, William speaking. How can I help you?” Bill talks with the customer, collects the details of the problem, searches in the product support Knowledge Base, sifts through the search results, finds the solution, and patiently walks the customer through fixing the problem. The customer is thrilled that William was able to fix the problem so quickly, and with such a pleasant attitude. Bill wraps up the call....

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Posted by on Nov 25, 2009 in Branding | 0 comments

You Cannot Force People to Have Fun

I do not like jumping out of planes. I do not gardening. I do not want know karake. If you were to throw me out of a plane, make me pull weeds or even attempt to make me put on the white karake pajamas, I’d be very unhappy. If I smiled when I was doing any of these things, well, it would be quite obvious that it was forced. Just as it would be clearly fake for me to enjoy planting a rose bush, the same is true for the Microsoft customer service staff “enjoying” this painful dancing routine: This is the distinction between Google and Microsoft. Google actually has fun in their own geeky way while Microsoft painstakingly tries to be “gettin’ giggy wit it.” Consumers can see through the painful attempts to be “cool.” If there is anything that we could learn from this Microsoft video, it’s about authenticity. If you are not a company that breaks out into dance, don’t break out into dance. Simple as...

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Posted by on Nov 16, 2009 in Branding | 0 comments

Cut Costs or Customers?

We have seen cost-cutting measures go to the extreme in the past year. Either cut or die, essentially. In fact, 52% of HR departments have conducted layoffs in the past year. Though Netflix is not suffering as much as other companies, it’s exploring its own ways to cut costs. Lifehacker reported that Netflix is considering delaying its new releases to reduce the purchase costs or they are going continue with their current model — new releases when they come out. Essentially, Netflix is battling whether or not to maintain the model that has made it successful (featuring great, new releases along with its competitors) or giving customers a reason to go to the Blockbuster down the street. Unless Netflix intends to charge less for its lesser product, it gives customers a reason to change services. Why pay the same amount for a lesser product? The way Netflix could create a win-win situation is to offer a tiered plan based on movie release dates. Pay X to receive new releases...

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Posted by on Nov 10, 2009 in Branding | 0 comments

Jim Carry Putting the Magic Back Into the Web

Jim Carry’s new website illustrates how creativity and design can bring the magic back to the web. Most of the time, the web serves as an information conduit. It’s about speed and sorting through the enormous amounts of data and information — whether it’s to find the next hilarious video or get an update on the latest breaking story. For webmasters, this trend towards information has eliminated much of the mystery and magic that got people interested in the web to begin with. It was all about Flash — how could you incorporate a completely branded experience for your customer? Was it a splash page or really cool graphic navigation? We are now in the age of SEO — the complete opposite of Flash. SEO is about using text that can be indexed by search engines to boost traffic referrals.  However, Carry’s new website demonstrates that Flash is not dead — it’s very much alive. The website immerses the user into the mysterious world of Jim Carry. It’s full-screen...

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Posted by on Nov 8, 2009 in Branding | 0 comments

NPR: The Value of Humanity

Making an emotional connection could be as simple as cutting cake — at least for NPR. As a daily listener of NPR, All Things Considered‘s Melissa Gray and Morning Edition‘s Steve Inskeep and Renee Montagne have become staples of my everyday. The on-air hosts often stay close to the script, but on a rare occasion they slip in a bit of personality. That’s why I was pleased to hear about the “sweet potato pound cake, still warm.” Melissa Gray sent an e-mail to the NPR staff about the sweet potato pound cake in the lobby. This small, minute detail spoke volumes of their personalities. It humanized them in many ways. That little cake bit made a connection with me. It put a personality behind the reporters I listen to every day. I could relate to them on a personal level and it is this audience / publisher relationship that creates long-term relationships. My suggestion would be to incorporate more personality into the funding drive. It could be as simple...

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Posted by on Nov 6, 2009 in Branding | 0 comments

Don’t Just Say It, Dissolve It

Creativity in advertising often involves a witty tag or thought-provoking image. That’s great, but take it a step further. Go off the page and start to think multi-dimensional. What better company to do that than the Creative Review. The Creative Review recently released its new magazine in a special bag. Typically, the plastic sleeve that protects the magazine gets thrown out along with the annoying inserts. However, the Creative Review took this innocuous element and made it buzzworthy. The Creative Review made the plastic magazine sleeve out of biodegradable material so it would dissolve in water. Though this new sleeve is not going to radically curb global warming, its carries symbolic value that speaks to the Creative Review’s commitment to the environmental. The key take-away here is how can you make your company not just say your core mission, but actually do it. Is it developing an internal bike service to cut-down on emissions or is it as simple as creating a bio-degradable magazine sleeve. To create impact, it’s...

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