Sunday, August 30, 2009

Not a controlled message (171 Starbucks in 1 day)

I've never been to New York but I know there are 171 starbucks to choose from in Manhattan alone!

I wonder what Starbucks did to the employee that charged 80 bucks for a pound cake?

Is it possible to find fans like this? This is begging to be an ad! It needs some edits but the story can be told in 10 seconds. Give up control let real people tell your story and communicate your message. It wont come across as forced or produced. Also this guy went to 171 stores in 1 day I'm pretty sure he picked up a gazillion insights.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Why Twitter? ... Finally Explained

I'm writing this post to help people. I understand both sides of the twitter and antitwitter groups. I myself went from the great mass of “I don’t get the twitter thing” to a “do you twitter?” stranger asking freak in less than 2 months. My wife still doesn’t get it and I understand why; Twitter seems stupid. Yes twitter fans the name is stupid and the idea is abstract… sorry.

*** When twitter users say words like twit, tweeter or tweet it sounds really dumb/dorky to the huge mass of people not on the network. ***

Non-users consider the following as a how to guide/ why its cool guide…

Step 1: Realize that Twitter isn’t Myspace or Facebook!
The big difference here is that Twitter is an open platform, unless you have a limited profile (I don’t suggest) you are an open book. Your thoughts musing web clippings are able to be seen by everyone, 140 characters at a time. You can see what anyone in the world is posting, and they can see you. If you are new to this I would suggest creating a list of your favorite athletes, politicians, movie stars, authors, innovators, companies etc. and following them. Following people that are interesting is like getting a backstage Pass … which brings me to step 2. . .

Step 2: Use Twitter as a backstage pass

Generally when we see our favorite big personalities we see them in a very controlled handled environment. Twitter gives a chance to see what they are thinking and feeling in real time! Twitter is also a great way to stay ahead of trends and find out about parties. I often use it to peer into the lives of people I would never get to hangout with. For me it’s like digital people watching. You want to know what Lauren Conrad’s days really look like, its on twitter. Want to know what Lance Armstrong is doing check out twitter. Want to follow the NHL Free Agency, use hash tags (Hash tag = # in front of a word) and stay up to the second.
( has a good list to start)

Step 3: Use twitter to get customer service

How many of us are sick of dealing with India, Bangalore or Antarctica on the phone. Hash tag a company name with a complaint or comment and you'll almost always get a response. Many companies have small teams tracking this stuff. If someone else is having the same problem you can use twitter as a network to find solutions… no bad hold music, and often in real time.

Step 5: Follow your friends
See what your friends are doing, even select some have SMS text’s sent to your phone. Its a cool way to send group messages. Also use it to have public conversations about topics, just something that needs to be attempted.

Step 6: When a story breaks you are really interested in
Follow what is going on by following hash tags… there are how to guides and 3 party applications for that.

Basically Twitter just takes a little getting used to, but once you figure it out… it becomes a very cool tool. Finally I would suggest using a gadget like tweet deck or the twitter gadget for iGoogle.

See side bar if you want to follow me after you set up your account.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

::Why Disney has it right::

Recently, I read Creating Magic, which is essentially about how Disney leads their people to function as an extension of their brand. Disney is an innovator in this area. They have created a culture where each of their cast members own a stake in the ideas, values, and company. Disney cast members are more likely to act in a way that is consistent with the company's overall vision and objective as a result.

How they created ownership

1. Brand with value
Clearly communicating that people matter (*employees are people) dramatically increases what employees are willing to do for a company. Employees that are valued are more likely to invest themselves into a brand message. Companies that treat people with disrespect end up with weak brands. Strong brands start with employees that are valued and respected.

2. Keep what matters in focus
The customer is often forgotten in minor policy adjustments even though many of these adjustments often affect the customer. I have seen small companies choose organizational convenience over customer service and do great harm as a result. Customer service is hard especially when workers get far removed from customer interaction. Listening to the customer and what front-line employees are communicating about customer needs gives a brand relevance.

3. Everything that is done matters
How many times have we really considered how important a Janitor is to our daily lives? How often do we think of the bus boy as a person that can make or break our day or business? Too often in our world the jobs that are low in pay are low in prestige. The sales force gets training while the shipping departments are trained only as much are necessary. Companies with a strong brand culture communicate value to every single position in addition to every person.

4. Training
The best way to communicate value to employees is to train and develop them as people. If a brand sets out to communicate excellence and value, then the brand must be willing to equip staff to fulfill this role. Too many businesses fear that they loose top talent because with adequate training, the employees might out grow their jobs. However, if training is done correctly, that type of shrinkage could actually be good news. Loosing top talent (managers etc.) actually opens up spaces for movement. A company with opportunity will actually result in creating a culture where you don’t loose top talent, you get more.

Much of this post is in response to Seth Godin's blog. Click the head below to check it out.