Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Marketing Idea: Give Away A Smartphone W/ Data Access

Ever since I got a Droid I have been literally amazed by how much a smartphone can increase your productivity, keep you in touch with news as well as contacts, and introduce you to new ideas and products. (I have seen the iPad but not tried it and am sure its the same).
Marketers who want to build a relationship with their customers and keep it strong would do well to think about offering them access to this technology. Special populations to target I think are those who tend to lag in adopting technology due to cost or perceived difficulty.

Give people the tools to empower themselves, and they will reward you with continued loyalty - that is my hypothesis. You can do well by doing good.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

An Audacious Idea for McDonald’s: Go Vegan!

A couple of years ago I told Starbucks to kill itself off and start again before the market slayed it (slew it?) dead. If you know me, you know that I am a huge Starbucks fan as well as a branding and social media strategist, and I said as someone who believes that the soul of a brand can live albeit in different packaging.

Today it looks like the ‘bux has made itself right and I’ thinking about another brand I like a lot, and how it might reinvent itself for a new era. And that brand is McDonald’s.

Though the food at McDonald's is not generally for me - even if I weren't kosher I don't eat much meat and avoid processed food for health reasons - I am a great admirer of the brand. Here is a company that really understands the seeming paradox that great brands know how to navigate like an elephant who can dance on the head of a pin: on the one hand extreme consistency, and on the other total customization.

They get this done by establishing the brand as a presence everywhere, then tweaking the menu to suit customers' tastes in broad ways (greasy/sugary and nutritionally harmless co-exist there) as well as to suit local tastes (like fish sandwiches for breakfast in Japan) or the "Kiwi Burger" in New Zealand some years ago: "100% pure beef patty, Farmer Brown egg, Wattie's Beetroot, tomato, lettuce, Mainland cheese, onions, tomato sauce, and mustard on a toasted bun. The packaging had 46 classic kiwi quotes, kiwiana, and kiwi sporting icons." (Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McDonald's_products)

Yet I think McDonald's, by continuing to sell meat, may be missing the boat on a huge change taking place in consumers' collective consciousness today. As the human race grows more spiritually enlightened, corporate social responsibility becomes a bigger and bigger deal. CSR has been talked about for years but I think we are soon going to hit a "tipping point." Brands that are fully sustainable, that give back to the earth more than they took away from it, will have the advantage; those that represent cruelty of any kind, or wastefulness, will suffer.

Right now we haven't hit the tipping point yet, and McDonald's still sees its main competitor as Burger King. But as Deepak Chopra once said, the way out of a conflict is not to fight at the level of the war but to rise above it. This is all a long way of saying that I think McDonald's has a window of opportunity to become the first vegan big-name brand. No longer would Americans have to pay ridiculous markup prices for healthy food - for the first time the mass market would have equal access to healthier and socially conscious fare.

If they don't muck it up by hiding trans fat in the food, treating the workforce badly, or doing something else to contradict the message, think of all the possible win-win benefits here:

1. Help conquer obesity and diet-related disease by making it normal to eat healthy food rather than disgusting, greasy fast-food

2. Stop killing animals for food needlessly

3. Promote intelligent use of plentiful resources for healthy eating

4. Make healthy eating possible for even the most economically challenged among us

And most important of all -

5. Show that you can do well by doing good - paving the way for others to follow with different ideas that are equally as helpful.

Posted via email from Think Brand First

10 Ways That Social Media Has Empowered Women—And May Save The World, Too

1. Most employers consider it a requirement to know how to use social media—which is basically about chattering all the time about what you’re doing with your friends.


2. People with young children can still participate in the workplace thanks to wireless Internet connectivity and social media collaboration tools that make it possible to get an accredited degree, telecommute, work before the kids go to school and late into the night.


3. Now that this technology is widely available it is becoming “normal” for everyone to balance their work and their personal lives, not just mothers, which means that the work associated with parenting and care of the home is being distributed more equally between women and men.


4. The Internet lets you comparison shop easily and social media means that no vendor is safe from criticism. Thus consumers make decisions based on a variety of factors related to trust and relationships. This is a different kind of business model that gives women, who are traditionally the “communication and relationship experts,” an advantage. (I expect that the genders will increasingly level out in terms of their relationship skills as money is increasingly made in this way.)


5. Social media is a world where physical strength is irrelevant, an advantage for most women.


6. Social media is a world where people can’t be controlled (much) by traditional chains of command. Everybody’s ideas are equal and everybody has a chance to participate in the conversation.


7. Social media-reared kids expect supervisors to interact with them frequently and to mentor them so that they are not just working but growing in terms of their earning capacity. Meaning, they expect to be parented at work—a traditionally female occupation.


8. In the world of social media, you can be slaughtered by gossip. Men, who traditionally are expected to handle physical threats rather than verbal ones, are at a disadvantage compared with women, who are more attuned to aggression that is  not physical in nature.


9. We are increasingly incorporating social media collaboration tools into the workplace to facilitate collaboration, because today’s complex knowledge economy requires every employee to be fully engaged intellectually. Traditionally, women as mothers have facilitated family interactions, and this translates neatly into roles that involve online community management.


10. To meet the demands of today’s environment, organizations must function in an integrated way as well as employee employees who are coming to work on all cylinders—physically and emotionally. Everything must be holistic; every part of the machine must work together. Thus everybody must collaborate to improve products and services for the customer. We also must focus on employee engagement and health because without intellectual and emotional capital, our organizations can’t thrive.


Looking at all of this, I wonder what the future will hold, as women and men adapt to this changed world. I foresee that we will adapt to the technology by becoming more balanced people who are better able to relate to one another and to contribute to not only our organizations, but also our world…solving the most difficult and painful problems that humanity faces.


Perhaps the feminist revolution will also bring the end of poverty, illness, warfare, and all the other ills that can be fixed if we just put our heads together and try.



Posted via email from Think Brand First

Friday, July 16, 2010

Some Trends in Social Media Use Today - And How We Can Use Them To Communicate Better

1. Blogs are not a primary social media outreach tool for “regular people”

* Only about 1 out of 5 Americans (22%) read blogs “several times a month or more”

* More than half of Americans “never” read blogs that discuss “politics” and only 23% do so “several times a year”


2. When people want to buy something, they go to the website first and face-to-face second (official representative of company, or not) – so all channels of communication matter

* 36% - website

* 22% - face to face with company representative/salesperson

* 21% - face to face with someone not representing the company

* 19% - print advertising

* 19% - independent website with reviews

* 16% - phone call to company

* 4% - social networking site


3. News is social

* 72% of Americans follow the news as a source of conversation

* 50% rely to some extent on “people around them” to tell them news “they need to know”

* 37% of internet users have “contributed to the creation of news, commented…or disseminated it via postings on social media sites like Facebook or Twitter”


4. Social media is pervasive, even addictive  

* 1 in 3 Americans use social media regularly - 110 million people, or 36%

* 24% of employees use social media at work today, up from 19% in 2008

* Social media users are getting older – median age of Facebook users is 33; Twitter, 31; LinkedIn, 39

* Primary uses of social media include “fun” and connecting with “family and friends”; career networking is a distant second


5. Facebook is the most important social network in the country; MySpace and LinkedIn are underleveraged government communications tools

* 75% say Facebook is their most valuable network; 65% say MySpace; 30% LinkedIn; 12% Twitter

* 19% of Internet users now use Twitter, up from 11% a year ago (this from is a different study than the one above)

* 34% of women age 18-34 check Facebook first thing when they wake up in the morning - even before they brush their teeth




1. Social media use

http://www.socialmediatoday.com/SMC/110196 linking to http://www.andersonanalytics.com/



2. Information-gathering habits



3. Facebook use



4. Blog use


5. Twitter use


6. News is social









Posted via email from Think Brand First

Friday, July 9, 2010

25 New Ways To Be Innovative

Well, I started out with 25 different bullets...please add your own and let me know what you think of these.  

1. Write down your thoughts while they are fresh because you will forget them later

2. Challenge “what everybody says” or “does” or “thinks”

3. Keep paper and pen available to you everywhere (also something electronic to type on)

4. Write a blog - you do have something to say even if you don't think so right now

5. Comment on other people’s blogs because their ideas can spark new ideas in you

6. Find a professional social network or two where you can discuss things. (Facebook is a friend network not a social network and doesn't count.)

7. Get support from your boss to do innovative things by solving a problem for them that requires an innovative approach

8. Find people at work who also want to be innovative and talk to them. They might not be in your immediate work group. That is irrelevant and probably even a good thing.

9. Organize best practice meetings. You don't necessarily need to fly to a $1,200 conference to learn from an expert in person.

10. Practice being painfully honest with yourself. That will inoculate you against the painful honesty of others when they totally reject most of your ideas :-)

11. Be kind when you don't like an idea. (I am too blunt I admit.) Praise them for having made the effort. Find anything remotely salvageable about their idea and help them to develop that more.

12. Expect nothing immediate to result from your efforts, but don't settle for having no impact where you work. I'd say a 15% success rate (meaning out of every 10 ideas you pitch, 1 of them is accepted and another one is modified and then accepted) is decent.

13. Don't get upset when your initial brilliant idea is modified beyond belief in order to be used. You have still innovated. Yay!

14. Visit with others who are innovating somewhere else. They are smart and usually so excited about the chance to make a difference that they will happily help you out.

15. Remember that you always have multiple customers to please so just "helping the taxpayer" is NOT going to be enough. You have to please your agency's leadership first and foremost - as their blessing is going to give you the latitude you need to be creative in serving the taxpayer.

16. If you find it hard to be innovative yourself, find someone else who is and offer to help them. Build an innovation SWAT team and go fix something!

17. If you feel stuck, take a break and get something to eat. (Sorry if this is not what the diet lobby wants to hear...it works.)

18. Stop branding yourself, period. The more egocentric and self-conscious you are, the more you're thinking about how this is going to look on your resume, the more crowded your brain is and the less space there is for ideas to flow in creatively.

19. Find quiet time for yourself every day. Serious quiet time.

20. Others have said this and I think it's true - operate in an experimental mode. Somebody used the word "half-baked" to describe this. I like that term. Pilot a project, if it works, go for it; if not, pull it back in.

21. Be spontaneous more – seize the moment. Just in general, in your life.

22. Pay attention to what kids think, say, and do. Kids are innately innovative until grownups wash that out of them by making them sit in chairs all day and memorize things (but that's another discussion).

23. Admit that negativity exists, but don’t become negative because of it.

24. Observe, read about, or better yet spend time with people whose worldview, culture, approach to life is totally different from yours. National Geographic has a lot of good shows available free, online about other cultures, deviant behavior, etc. They're great.

25. Whether or not you believe in a Divine Creator, take time to think about the fact that you are a very tiny speck in the universe with a unique genetic code. This helps give you the perspective you need to be free in your thinking - for even if you are a small speck in the universe, there is something special about you, which means that you have something to contribute here that nobody else can.

Posted via email from Think Brand First