Nicolas Riou (Brain Value):
As consumers grow less and less passive, brands must modify their approach in order to continue seducing them. (...)
Reading consumers is becoming very complex and presents a number of contradictions. We can no longer rely on traditional benchmarks. We forget the term "consumer" to replace it with "individual". (...)
Consumers, like brands, now express themselves on the internet. In fact, consumers now tend to trust other consumers' opinions posted on forums than actual brand communications. Power is changing hands. Brands are losing control over their own image but also take advantage of the content creation and associated buzz generated by consumers. Interestingly, some brands are attempting to regain control of this content creation by organizing contests. In 2007, Liebig organized a content creation contest that focused on recipes, and l'Oréal organized an advertising campaign design contest which promised its winners exposure for their work.
Consensus living is starting to gain momentum. Consumers are much more attentive to the way they make purchases and live their lives. Purchases of organic products reflect an trend towards all things natural, pro-health, and the reinforcement of ecologically driven imperatives. People are now much more attentive to traceability, recyclability, and the carbon footprint of products (as it relates to energy consumed during their production, distribution, etc.). This trend towards making products traceable from a to z is currently revolutionizing the food industry. Consumers can now look at a food product's packaging and immediately see the difference between a kiwi fruit which traveled 20,000 kilometers and a kiwi grown in a neighboring country. This product labeling model is gaining incredible momentum in Japan, notably with mobile devices, and should start showing up in France in two or three years.
Buzz marketing aside, the 360° phenomenon is growing quickly. Consumer touchpoints are multiplying and making use of increasingly non-traditional methods of advertising. Still, these new strategies are not necessarily replacing more traditional marketing methods to inspire emotional attachment to brands. Both as consumers and fans of entertainment we still crave the familiarity of TV advertising and big media.
Jean-Noël Kapferer (HEC).
2007 was characterized by the success of extremes: Low cost and luxury brands in mass market like Apple, H&M or Nespresso. We observed a polarization phenomenon in the market.
On the one hand, certain brands positioned in the value-priced corner further discounted their products, like Ikea and Easyjet for example. The Logan, which was Europe's cheapest car, will soon be dethroned by a vehicle costing only $2.500 euros born of a partnership between Renault and an Indian manufacturer.
On the other hand, middle-of-the road brands which not so long ago were known for producing mass consumption products are now becoming premium brands.(...)
Apple isn't technically a luxury brand but it employs luxury brand strategies. This is the case with iPhone: A single distribution partner, a premium price, an exclusive service package, messaging centered on living an ideal lifestyle… all of this to develop a unique experience aesthetic and a strong sense of community. The process is the same when Nespresso launches a boutique on the Champs Elysées.
Likewise, Air France is bringing back First Class in response to its Tempo Class being challenged by low cost operators. (The advantage of business class resides in that businesses, not individual passengers foot the bill.)
Sofitel is also following this model by repositioning half of its operations as luxury properties, under its Pullman brand. This tendency by mid-market brands to restructure "up" their existing stores, properties and product lines is important.
Examples of volume: Ford, Bic, Motorola, Coors, Sears, Magnavox, Sony, rows 10+, Food Lion, Dasani.
Examples of luxury: Jaguar, Mont Blanc, iPhone, Heineken, Polo, Philips, B&O, rows 1-5, Whole Foods, Perrier.
"The passionate worker doesn't show up because she's afraid of getting in trouble, she shows up because it's a hobby that pays."
1. Passionate people: People like me who can put every bit of themselves into their jobs because it is either exciting, fun or rewarding on a visceral level... or all of the above. Entrepreneurial poets living at the intersection of business, culture and design.
2. Jaded passionate people: People who used to be passionate about their work but have been beaten into relative apathy. Generally, the passion in these people can be ignited again with a simple idea or project.
3. Whomever doesn't fit in either of the previous two categories.
"Customer service is the job of front-line workers, servicing customer requests for help - via an 800 number, e-mail, or a retail desk. It's important to invest in good customer service, but that's just the tiniest sliver of the customer experience.
"Customer experience is the job of everyone in the company. My customer experience was bad because the product, and the refund policy, are both broken. Everyone from the CEO and CFO to the product designers and manufacturing facility contributed to this bad customer experience; and as a result, they've lost a customer and generated bad word of mouth. The good customer service I received didn't - and couldn't possibly - fix the overall experience."
"I've never experienced so much noise and so little signal as I do in the present field of marketing. Marketing is a mess. Marketing is broken! Half of marketers are on autopilot creating award-winning, irrelevant media noise, web nonsense and events. The other half is paralyzed - measuring everything to death and covering their collective butts. Clarity: Marketing's New Task."
Helvetica is a feature-length independent film about typography, graphic design and global visual culture. It looks at the proliferation of one typeface (which will celebrate its 50th birthday in 2007) as part of a larger conversation about the way type affects our lives. The film is an exploration of urban spaces in major cities and the type that inhabits them, and a fluid discussion with renowned designers about their work, the creative process, and the choices and aesthetics behind their use of type.
Helvetica encompasses the worlds of design, advertising, psychology, and communication, and invites us to take a second look at the thousands of words we see every day.
The film was shot in high-definition on location in the United States, England, the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, France and Belgium. It is currently screening at film festivals and special events worldwide.
Interviewees in Helvetica include some of the most illustrious and innovative names in the design world, including Erik Spiekermann, Matthew Carter, Massimo Vignelli, Wim Crouwel, Hermann Zapf, Neville Brody, Stefan Sagmeister, Michael Bierut, David Carson, Paula Scher, Jonathan Hoefler, Tobias Frere-Jones, Experimental Jetset, Michael C. Place, Norm, Alfred Hoffmann, Mike Parker, Bruno Steinert, Otmar Hoefer, Leslie Savan, Rick Poynor, Lars Müller, and many more.
Helvetica was developed by Max Miedinger with Eduard Hoffmann in 1957 for the Haas Type Foundry in Münchenstein, Switzerland. In the late 1950s, the European design world saw a revival of older sans-serif typefaces such as the German face Akzidenz Grotesk. Haas' director Hoffmann commissioned Miedinger, a former employee and freelance designer, to draw an updated sans-serif typeface to add to their line. The result was called Neue Haas Grotesk, but its name was later changed to Helvetica, derived from Helvetia, the Latin name for Switzerland, when Haas' German parent companies Stempel and Linotype began marketing the font internationally in 1961.
Introduced amidst a wave of popularity of Swiss design, and fueled by advertising agencies selling this new design style to their clients, Helvetica quickly appeared in corporate logos, signage for transportation systems, fine art prints, and myriad other uses worldwide. Inclusion of the font in home computer systems such as the Apple Macintosh in 1984 only further cemented its ubiquity.
Labels: visual data modeling
"Too many times business owners seem to be satisifed spending their careers as managers rather than leaders. When you see real leadership in action, you're left in awe. Real leaders are active, engaged and motivating. They create an atmosphere that's electric - both fun and productive."
1 - View your customers as a community, and join them. If there is a 'big secret' to how musicians create fans, this is it. Let's go back to the above photo. It was taken at a recent concert by The Donnas. But if you look closer, you'll notice that the singer on stage is just as excited and a fan of the music she is singing, as the people that are hearing it. Everyone, the audience, and the singer on stage, has their arms up, and they are cheering. Everyone belongs to the same community of fans.
But it's just as easy to join your community of customers in other industries. Willie Davidson explains that 'market research' to Harley-Davidson means spending a weekend on the open road with other Harley owners. Davidson is a fellow Harley owner, and as a result, is part of the same culture as his company's customers. The line between Harley-Davidson's customers, and the company itself, is very hazy. Since the company is participating in the customer's community, they better understand their customers, and as a result market to them more effectively. All of this makes it easier for Harley owners to be excited about the brand and proud to be a member of a very loyal and unique culture.
2 - Make sure you view your company and its products as your customers do. Hugh MacLeod had a great point once about making sure that your company is having the same conversation that your customers are. Apple thinks its products are cool, and so do its customers. Remember when the iPhone was introduced? Remember seeing customers proudly camping out for days outside Apple retail stores prior to the iPhone going on sale? Did you realize that in almost every case, there was a Cingular store close by selling the same iPhone, with no one waiting in line? But it was 'cool' to stand in line to wait for an iPhone, at the Apple store. Apple thinks the iPhone is cool, and Apple's customers agree, AND think that THEY are by extension cool because they have an iPhone!
3 - Empower your existing fans to market for you. Another secret to marketing like a rockstar is this: Evangelist=Fan. If you have evangelists, then you have fans. So obviously, you want to find your existing evangelists, and make it as easy as possible for them to tell others about you. Remember this post from last year about how Maker's Mark created their Brand Ambassador program? All the distillery did was organize its existing evangelists and empower them to better market for Maker's Mark. IOW, they made it easier for their evangelists to engage in pre-existing activities. These customers were passionate for the Maker's Mark brand, so the distillery empowered them to market for them. And remember, customers are far more likely to listen to other customers who endorse a product, than they are the company selling the product!
4 - Give customers input into your marketing. Dell's Ideastorm is a great example of this. The company has created a place for customers to not only submit their ideas on how Dell's products can be improved, but they then let other customers vote on which ideas are their favorites. Dell can look and see which ideas are the most popular, and then have a great idea of which improvements/changes customers want to see happen. And when the company acts on the changes that are suggested, it lets Dell's customers know that their input is valued and appreciated. It lets them know that they have some ownership over Dell's marketing. So naturally that leads to more customers giving more input and suggestions on what they want to see, which results in even MORE efficient marketing from Dell!
5 - Have FUN with your marketing! So how is Warner Bros. promoting next summer's hopeful blockbuster movie The Dark Knight? With posters and trailers online, right? Yes they are doing that, but they are also creating websites that must be decoded. If the lucky visitor can do so, they will receive an address of a nearby bakery, where a real cake is awaiting them, with a phone number to call written in icing, and containing a cell phone that receives both calls and text messages from 'Rent a Clown'. This is supposedly a company set up by one of the movie's main characters, The Joker! This is marketing, but it's also a great way to get people talking about, and excited about a movie that won't come out for seven months.
The Years of Cristobal BalenciagaYears ago, when famed couturier Yves Saint Laurent was asked how many true Haute Couture houses there were, answered "only two: Balenciaga, and Chanel."
1918 saw the founding of Cristobal Balenciaga’s first haute couture house in San Sébastian, Spain. Local admiration for his designs was so strong that a second haute couture house was opened in Madrid and a third in Barcelona. In 1937, 10, Avenue George V became the Parisian home of Cristobal Balenciaga’s creative influence. Balenciaga’s Paris flagship store is still located at this address.
Balenciaga soon came to embody Parisian elegance. Cristobal Balenciaga was hailed as ‘The Couturier of Couturiers’ and ‘The Master of us all’’ by designer Christian Dior.
In 1946, the House of Balenciaga launched its first perfume, ‘Le Dix’, aptly named after its first atelier, 10, Avenue George V. ‘Le Dix’ attracted the same acclaim as the famous Balenciaga couture pieces, and the perfume soon even rivalled that of Coco Chanel herself. In 1968, Balenciaga closed his couture house, to the deep dismay of his favourite clients. Countess Mona Bismarck lamented the event by locking herself indoors for three days.
Cristobal Balenciaga died in his home country of Spain in 1972. His nephews then took the helm of the business. In 1978, control of the House of Balenciaga, including the important fragrance business, passed to Hoechst and then to Groupe Jacques Bogart in 1986.
In 1995, Nicolas Ghesquière was hired by the House, initially as a designer for the licensed products activity. He became creative director for the House’s own ready-to-wear and accessories collection in 1997.
In 2001, Gucci Group, in partnership with Nicolas Ghesquière as creative director, acquired the House of Balenciaga, now well on its way towards recreating the influence and respect that the house commanded in its former heydays.
Today, the House of Balenciaga creates women’s and men’s ready-to-wear, shoes and accessories, sold worldwide.
"So I was wondering, what is that exact point where a company stops caring? Stops paying attention to their customers? Stops with the phenomenal customer service? Is it when they reach a certain sales figure? A certain number of employees?"
People in the US uses 60 thousand plastic bags every five seconds.
The US uses 200,000 plastic bottles every five minutes. (That's OVER TWO MILLION PLASTIC BOTTLES EVERY HOUR!)
US prisons currently house 2.5 MILLION prisoners. (That's almost the entire population of Chicago, by the way.)
200,000 Americans die from smoking every six months.
9 MILLION children in the US did not have health insurance in 2007.
The US spends $12.5 Million of taxpayer dollars every hour in Iraq.
Americans, on average, spend more money than they earn. How do they manage to do this? Easy credit, low interest debt.
Thanks to their magnificent consumption, soaking up the goods produced by tens of thousands of Chinese factories, Asia keeps offering Americans easily accessible credit and buys up the monumental debt wracked up daily by the American government in the form of Treasury bonds. Without Asia both offering credit, and buying up debt, the average American lifestyle as they now know it would cease exist.
But even though the US government, and federal reserve, freely admits to shocking levels of debt and losses, the true scale of America's extremely fragile economic situation is lost behind illusionary accounting practices, the kind that no corporation is allowed to get away with.
The true scale of America's extremely fragile economic situations has now been exposed :
The federal government recorded a $1.3 trillion loss last year — far more than the official $248 billion deficit — when corporate-style accounting standards are used, a USA TODAY analysis shows.
The loss reflects a continued deterioration in the finances of Social Security and government retirement programs for civil servants and military personnel. The loss — equal to $11,434 per household — is more than Americans paid in income taxes in 2006.
"We're on an unsustainable path and doing a great disservice to future generations," says Chris Chocola, a former Republican member of Congress from Indiana and corporate chief executive who is pushing for more accurate federal accounting.
Modern accounting requires that corporations, state governments and local governments count expenses immediately when a transaction occurs, even if the payment will be made later.
The federal government does not follow the rule, so promises for Social Security and Medicare don't show up when the government reports its financial condition.
Bottom line: Taxpayers are now on the hook for a record $59.1 trillion in liabilities, a 2.3% increase from 2006. That amount is equal to $516,348 for every U.S. household. By comparison, U.S. households owe an average of $112,043 for mortgages, car loans, credit cards and all other debt combined.
Unfunded promises made for Medicare, Social Security and federal retirement programs account for 85% of taxpayer liabilities. State and local government retirement plans account for much of the rest.
This hidden debt is the amount taxpayers would have to pay immediately to cover government's financial obligations. Like a mortgage, it will cost more to repay the debt over time. Every U.S. household would have to pay about $31,000 a year to do so in 75 years.It would seem almost impossible for the American economy to be facing disaster when the stock market is roaring past 13400 points, but most of this growth comes from the availability of extremely cheap debt. Get a big fat low interest loan and pour the money into stocks and bonds, and watch the stock market climb.
Mike Whitney is not alone in claiming the strength of the American stock mark is but an illusion, a simple con aimed at propping up the American dollar and holding back the financial devastation that will eventually break out across the nation.
The illusion, he claims, is shattered when you take a look at what's happening to American real estate, and it's not a pretty picture. When the real estate market completely disintegrates, so will most of the rest of the American economy :The real estate market is crashing faster than anyone had anticipated. Housing prices have fallen in 17 of 20 of the nation's largest cities and the trend lines indicate that the worst is yet to come.The entire thing house of cards is propped up by confidence. The confidence that says property prices will recover. The confidence that claims the stock market will stay strong. The confidence wishes, dreams, hopes, that jobs will grow, that exports will rise, that the inevitable crash and burn will never come.
March sales of new homes plummeted by a record 23.5% (year over year) removing all hope for a quick rebound. Problems in the subprime and Alt-A loans are mushrooming in previously "hot markets" resulting in an unprecedented number of foreclosures.
The defaults have slowed demand for new homes and increased the glut of houses already on the market. This is putting additional downward pressure on prices and profits. More and more builders are struggling just to keep their heads above water.
This isn't your typical 1980s-type "correction"; it's a full-blown real estate cyclone smashing everything in its path.
Tremors from the real estate earthquake won't be limited to housing--they will rumble through all areas of the economy including the stock market, financial sector and currency trading. There is simply no way to minimize the effects of a bursting $4.5 trillion equity bubble.
The next shoe to drop will be the stock market which is still flying-high from increases in the money supply. The Federal Reserve has printed up enough fiat-cash to keep overpriced equities jumping for joy for a few months longer. But it won't last.
Wall Street's credit bubble is even bigger than the housing bubble---a monstrous, lumbering dirigible that's headed for a crash-landing. The Dow is like a drunk atop a 13,000 ft cliff; inebriated on the Fed's cheap "low-interest" liquor. One wrong step and he'll plunge headlong into the ether.
The stock market cheerleaders are ooooing and ahhing the Dow's climb to 13,000, but it's all a sham. Wall Street is just enjoying the last wisps of Greenspan's low interest helium swirling into the largest credit bubble in history. But there are big changes on the way.
In fact, the storm clouds have already formed over the housing market. The subprime albatross has lashed itself to everything in the economy ---dragging down consumer confidence, GDP and (eventually) the stock market, too. The real damage is just beginning to materialize.
Perhaps spending more state and federal money on education, infrastructure, healthcare networks, and research might yield better ROI than supporting the Halliburtons and Blackwaters of the world. We just can't keep borrowing trillions of dollars from foreign banks to fund little more than day to day war-driven government services, an ill-managed federal budget and our purchasing power... and expect the bubble to keep growing and growing and growing without ever bursting.
Unlike the other olivier blanchard, I am not an economist, but as a guy who has worked for fifteen long years to finally get out from under a pretty decent amount of debt, this seems pretty obvious: Debt doesn't just go away when you ignore it. Sooner or later, you have to pay the piper. Yes you, not the next guy.
No one is going to bail us out of this mess. No one is going to come along to magically rebuild confidence in our economy or our government. Democracy only works if people take their civic, financial and professional responsibilities seriously. As a nation, we could be doing a whole lot better.
When a client, especially a new client, does not get what they are expecting, you are breaking an implied promise. Once you break that first promise, they will be calulating in their head how much more they will take before letting you go.
Here are 10 ways you may have broken a promise to a client.
You cannot create buzz when you are creating regret.
- Return a phone call when you said you would.
- Proposal or contract arrives the day you said it would.
- Reported back progress when stipulated.
- Delivered exactly what is expected.
- Clear pricing that does not go up for this and that.
- Built an ongoing, valueable relationship
- Failed to thank client for referral
- Did not follow up after delivery
- Miss a scheduled meeting or lunch
- Back-peddle on promises after sale
"If your new Big Idea doesn't scare the hell out of you, it's probably not a new Big Idea. If it doesn't scare other people, it might be because you allowed the consensus (or what you imagined as the consensus) to smooth the pointy bits, buffing and polishing the idea into a nice safe state that displeases nobody and delights nobody."
"But--if we let the critics (or fear of criticism) talk us out of an idea we still believe in, the world will be more homogeneous. Smoother. Less interesting. Imagine where we'd be if people throughout history had always given in to the critics (or fear of critics). Imagine the ideas that would have beenlost if others hadn't been brave enough to stand up against smart people who disagreed. Nature needs change and diversity, but humans tend to favor the status quo."
... Well, not all humans. Some of us are wired a little bit differently. It isn't so much that we're difficult. We really aren't. It's just in our DNA to a) figure out ways to make things better for people around us, and b) to find ways to take these ideas and actually make them happen.
We just want faster wheels. Safer helmets. Sharper pictures. Easier web interfaces. Cleaner fuels. Smarter workspaces. Softer beds. Fun retail spaces. Cheaper orbiters. More powerful telescopes. Tastier drive-thru coffee. Food, clean water and medicine for every human being on the planet. Better advertising. Put simply, we have the skills to make these things happen, and don't feel like waiting for someone else to get around to it.
Kathy posted a link to the very cool ode to "The Crazy Ones", from Apple. Remember the ad? If not, maybe this will refresh your memory:
Here's to the crazy ones.
The round pegs in the square holes.
The ones who see things differently.
They're not fond of rules.
And they have no respect for the status quo.
You can praise them, disagree with them, quote them,
disbelieve them, glorify or vilify them.
About the only thing you can't do is ignore them.
Because they change things.
They invent. They imagine. They heal.
They explore. They create. They inspire.
They push the human race forward.
Maybe they have to be crazy.
How else can you stare at an empty canvas and see a work of art? Or sit in silence and hear a song that's never been written? Or gaze at a red planet and see a laboratory on wheels?
We make tools for these kinds of people.
While some see them as the crazy ones, we see genius.
Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.
Related post: Fear Is Irrelevant.
Check this out. ;)
Research at the University of NSW, Sydney, Australia, claims the human brain processes & retains more information if it is digested in either its verbal or written form, but not both at the same time. more of the passages would be understood & retained if heard or read separately. "The use of the PowerPoint presentation has been a disaster," Professor Sweller said. "It should be ditched."
"It is effective to speak to a diagram, because it presents information in a different form. But it is not effective to speak the same words that are written, because it is putting too much load on the mind & decreases your ability to understand what is being presented."
This new insight clearly puts the recent report about using Powerpoint in Parliament speeches in a new perspective.
Some of the best powerpoint presentations I've seen so far have been extremely simple. They tended to focus on images, words and data so iconic, so clear, so easily understood in seconds that they a) almost required no input from the presenter and b) could have been framed and use as artwork. Slides with ten bullet-points and sub bullet points just put me to sleep. Bleh bleh bleh... bleh... blehhhhhhhhhh...Do yourselves a favor and go to presentationzen.com. Learn something today... like ways to a) communicate better with ppt. and b) stop boring your audience to death. (Thank you.)
"Leadership is all about love: Passion, enthusiasms for life, engagement, commitment, great causes, and a determination to make a damn difference, shared adventures, bizarre failures, growth, insatiable apetite for change."
"I fervently believe that the capitalist dream comes true and profit is maximized when ... turned-on people are empowered to dream big and produce awesome products and service experiences for their customers and communities."
"Why do we get the inspiration for innovation? I think it may be part of the human condition - that we're always trying to make things better. Sometimes it's a personal challenge to see if we can outdo what's been "done" before. Other times, it's a more practical reaction to a need expressed by someone we care for ... a customer, a co-worker, a family member."
"It's important to understand how innovation can effect the perceived value of your brand. Done right, innovations can keep your brand fresh and relevant to those people who already know and understand it. Innovation can also open your brand to new market opportunities."
"And so I was wondering: what's new about this economy. A lot. But not everything in this new economy is new. Sure, it’s easy to get caught up in the drama: Information technology is ubiquitous and rapidly advancing. Global economies are opening up. Legacy businesses are transforming before our eyes. But when it comes right down to the essence of business, it’s the same as it has always been - understand what drives a customer’s behavior and provide an experience which will attract that customer’s behavior over time. It’s still all about building reciprocal relationships. The issue today is one of emphasis.
"In the old economy, business altering technological advancements were infrequent. In addition, consolidations, due to mergers and acquisitions, were relatively rare occurrences. The competitive playing field was fairly stable. But today, new ways of doing business - of providing unique and valuable customer experiences - are springing up like weeds in a field. This increasingly intense competitive activity creates a huge sense of confusion. The good news is that when business conditions get chaotic, your customers inevitably face the same inextricable conditions. They are also overwhelmed with choice, drowning in information, time and attention starved, and therefore, confused, skeptical and frustrated.
"Remember too, that today’s global glut of business model choice has created an explosion in expectations. Customers are demanding the same value propositions across product categories. You can almost hear them asking: “Why can’t I configure my new car (build-to-order) the way I did my computer?” “How come I can’t get my hamburgers delivered like I did my pizza?” “Why can’t I do an on-line search at the hardware store, the way I do at my desk?” What they’re asking for is growth in the relationship - growth that will allow them to either maximize pleasure or minimize pain.
"The companies that prosper in this new economy will therefore be those with business designs that are defined by customer motivations and redefined to address their rising expectations. Think of it as incremental relationship development. The key to your success is to truly understand and empathize with customers’ “feelings”, and to increasingly delight them with what Tom Peters has described as the ‘look and the feel and the smell and the taste’ of doing business with you.
"Let’s face it. Customers now insist on high quality, quick delivery, consistent service and relatively low prices. These “pleasures” are expected, and as such, are not relevant differentiators. The competitive environment has made marketing and selling much more challenging. Customers can compare suppliers in real time and at any time, which places them firmly in the driver’s seat. To stand out and build a superior brand in this new “customer-controlled” economy, you must give up the need to be in control of your situation, and instead, be other-focused and help customers improve theirs."