I was in a cab racing across Manhattan when I spotted him: A pale, disheveled figure lurching across East 23rd Street. His hair was a messy tangle that looked like it hadn’t been combed in weeks. His clothes were rumpled and stained as though he had spent the night on a park bench.
My 16-year-old son and I were driving through the Utah desert last week, embarking on the last leg of eight days in the Southwest to see canyons and other attractions we New Englanders get out of Dodge once in a while to see. We’d been on the road for several hours.
"Dad, where are we staying tonight?"
"Don’t know, Grasshopper. I’m sure we’ll find someone happy to take our money for a room between here and the airport, which is a good 300 miles away."
Three meetings, two conference calls and a Webex — and it’s only Monday. Sound familiar? You’re not the only one. According to a 2007 study conducted by Banyan Way, an executive coaching and development group, senior marketing executives claimed to spend about half of their normal working day, every day, in meetings.
Last month was the 18th anniversary of Sam Kinison’s death. Kinison, a former revival preacher, was known for his fire and brimstone comedic delivery and trademark scream. I was thinking of the late great comedian recently while writing a capabilities piece for our agency — an e-doc on how we’ve helped clients build a stronger web presence. It seems to me Kinison’s classic bit on solving world hunger offers an important lesson on the topic:
According to the 2010 Brand Keys Customer Loyalty Engagement Index (a listing of the brands best able to engage customers and create loyal customers), Apple leads the pack in the categories of laptop computers and smart phones. As an avid user of an Apple laptop, I wasn’t too surprised.
As marketers, we are in the business of converting wants into needs and needs into wants. We create images and words that support the ability of a product or service to improve the way something is currently done or to fill voids, both those that have existed forever and those that have been left by the failure of something else.
My colleagues here at Seidler Bernstein know one of my dirty little secrets: I like to collect slogans from trucks and vans.
Okay, maybe it’s not all that sinister. More like a guilty pleasure. Because it’s fun for a brand strategist like me to see how some businesses summarize what they’re all about in one line. Really, those billboards rolling down the highway are in effect the front lines of Brand America. We’re constantly exposed to their messages.
I was selected to serve jury duty recently. After sitting through a month-long medical malpractice case as Juror No. 2, I not only have a greater appreciation for our judicial system but a renewed respect for physicians, also known as your customers.
The plaintiff was a 76-year-old man claiming that the defendants, three physicians, were responsible for his paralysis from the waist down as a result of a delayed diagnosis that occurred seven years ago.
There’s an old saying in advertising: “Nothing kills a bad product faster than good advertising.” In other words, great marketing will get people talking about your product. But if they have a less-than-amazing experience, it could be the kind of talk you don’t want. This is especially true today, in the age of social media, when bad news travels even faster.
Remember the famous line from Cool Hand Luke, “What we’ve got here is failure to communicate”? Too often that can be the case between the people creating your marketing materials and the people who actually have to use them — in other words, the marketing and sales departments, respectively.
We were meeting with a client — more specifically, with the president, marketing communications director and consulting executive. We were vying to come up with a name for a new surgical product and had been at it for about an hour. We wondered how the name might change when line extensions came into play down the road. And so of course the talk naturally turned to shaving.
“What we’re talking about here is not unlike how shaving companies name their products,” the consultant said.