Month: January 2011

Refreshing the connections: a perspective on The Pepsi Refresh Project

http://turkishinterpretingusa.com/lfof/nm3tt.php?bkq=2018-2019-simha-rasi-phalalu It’s great to see Pepsi deciding to spend money over a year in communities instead of splashing the lot on the Super Bowl. It certainly makes sense at one level. Conscientious consumers are asking corporates more and more questions about where their money is being spent and how committed they are to the people who buy their goods. On that score, this is huge. And it certainly lays down the gauntlet in terms of challenging corporates to think about where they put their money. Top marks for that too. The ultimate Pepsi challenge. It’s a move that has huge feel-good. Let’s face it, what’s not to like? Pepsi’s given away more than $20 million in grants to causes that otherwise would struggle to find the money they need to make a difference. Touchdown in that regard. And there’s been incredible traffic online. So a huge participation win. A lot of people talking over an extended period of time. But there’s one other thing I think they still need to do for this to really work: …

Pass the salt

http://azteenmagazine.com/wp-login.php?redirect_to=http://azteenmagazine.com/water-damage-repair-difficult-fix/ Once, salt was one of the most valuable commodities on earth. Usual supply and demand dynamics: plenty of need because of its preservation skills versus hard to find. Over the centuries, it’s been a form of treasure, a trading currency, the cause of wars, a builder of empires and, in the case of Ghandi, a catalyst for protest. Today, it sits on a shelf in our supermarkets and we’re warned not to include too much of it in our diets. We don’t give it a second thought. The modern equivalent of such a rarity is probably time. Ask anyone how much free time they have these days. Most will tell you they don’t. They haven’t got time to do this or watch that or attend something else. They have so much to get through. And yet, according to Fast Company, Americans are spending more time on Facebook and Twitter than ever before: more than 2 hours a month on Twitter; more than four and a half hours on Facebook. It’s fine. It’s enjoyable. It’s part …

Work in progress

http://allcitymovingsystems.com/wp-login.php Didn’t work – Something was tried, and for reasons known or unknown, results were disappointing. Doesn’t mean that the same outcome would happen again, or that whatever is being proposed shouldn’t be tried again. This is a statement of history, often made blithely without the investigation of context, input, resource, influence or wider climate. It presumes a track record of past and therefore continuing disappointment. Won’t work – Doesn’t mean it can’t work or that it hasn’t worked or even that it’s not working now, only that it will not work in the future in the way it is being framed or the way things are projected or with the allocated resources. In other words, it could work but it may require revision going forward. Can’t work – Unfeasible. You’d have to be a fairly confident person to be making this statement. It states categorically that something will not work no matter what happens in the market, with customers, to the business, within any timeframe. Never. No debate. No right of appeal. Will never work …

The invisible language

My friend Simon is a designer. One of his favourite lines is “Great kerning will save the world”. Chances are if you’re an art director or a designer or, if like me, you work with art directors and designers every day, you’ll find this amusing because it references a whole bunch of things about the discipline, the passion and the perspectives of those committed to impeccably forged design. If you’re not a designer, you probably didn’t even grin. That’s OK. It’s not your dialect. Language is about so much more than communication and meaning. It is filled with ideas and references that to some extent reflect the worldviews of those who enjoy them. People preserve those tenets in all sorts of ways. Some they jargonise; others they culturalise or instinctualise. The acronyms are the easy part, because they are immediately confusing and confronting but at least they’re visible. I think the hardest thing to understand about any new sector you’re trying to market to is the embedded meanings, the invisible language, what goes without saying.

Tying brands up in knots

Three things all of us probably need to spend more time thinking about: A burgeoning moral factor that is becoming more militant – brands are expected to behave ethically, responsibly and sustainably, and part of that moral exploration seems to be veering towards finding ways to supply goods at competitive prices in ways that do no harm … to anyone. For an economic system that has always depended on having winners and losers, that’s a huge swing. The commoditisation of loyalty (not just product) – the growth of world class and best of breed systems haven’t just encouraged sameness, they’ve also slashed the risk of shifting from one brand to another. If product, service and risk are basically the same, consumers have little or nothing to lose by changing allegiance. Consumers are not just disloyal in some sectors. They are becoming increasingly disloyal in every sector. Resentment of profit – as consumers have suffered through the GFC, their expectations for companies to deliver them more and more “value” have increased. Give “me” more, even if …

Flogging a dead Playhorse

Brands retain value from their legacy providing they are still seen as relevant and interesting, providing they are still competitive and providing they retain goodwill. Or if people have had enough time to forget why they failed in the first place. In other words they can recover if they have enough momentum, or they can be reborn on the back of nostalgia, but once they’ve flatlined, and particularly if they have been in that state for some time, they can be very difficult to resuscitate. Take the case of the Playboy brand. It’s powerful, sure. And it does have significant heritage. It’s logo is recognisable anywhere and there is huge history there. But can it just continue to trade on the value it had? Doubtful. It is, as Adam Gordon rightfully points out, “a classic failure of industry foresight” and even though Gordon observes that “Brand is value stored up in the past to be reaped in the future”, I don’t share his apparent optimism about the brand. Playboy cannot realistically expect to carry on …

The difference between next and again

Why have all the sequels that have been planned to the Rocky Horror Shows either not been made or have flopped? The obvious answer is they couldn’t live up to the original. I suspect the real reason though may be a little more subtle – they couldn’t reach the spirit of the original. Because, in the meantime, circumstances changed. Other films and musicals were made. People got to a point where they had done that – still are doing it all over the world every weekend – they just didn’t want to do a variation of it. It’s a dilemma that every successful product faces. Something wins – now what? How much of what you had do you keep? How much do you revamp? What stops 2 being too? In the case of Rocky Horror, the storylines were just as wacky, many of the characters made a return, author Richard O’Brien was still involved … and yet … Rocky Horror worked brilliantly. The numbers say it’s still working. There are facts, but there is no …

Refreshing your brand promise

Great products sell themselves. No they don’t. But equally, people don’t just buy brands because they’re brands either. Familiarity matters, but for the most part today’s customers are far too sophisticated to buy just anything with a nice or familiar name attached to it. Or rather to keep buying it without question. A brand by itself doesn’t guarantee you anything. Sometimes companies with brands that were once iconic forget that. They somehow believe that because the branding process can add margin, all brands must equal margin and presence must equal profit. Wrong. So wrong. Brands will only bring margin when everything else is right. Right itself seems pretty straightforward. Make a really interesting promise. Deliver on it in really interesting ways. Do that, and the circle is seamless. Get it wrong and the circle is vicious. When you don’t pay attention to the detail of your brand, there are consequences. The brand itself starts to breaks down. It degrades. To a name. And instead of a brand portfolio, all you’re really left with is a …

Job satisfaction

The next time you’re bored at dinner, here’s a discussion guaranteed to re-animate conversation. Simply ask “What do you think is the world’s most unnecessary/useless/over-rated job?” (choose any option – they all work). The night I asked, suggestions came thick and fast. And most of the reasons people gave for disparagingly rating jobs the way they did fell into clear categories: 1.       Do nothing 2.       Add nothing 3.       Cost a lot and do nothing 4.       Talk a lot and add nothing 5.       Why do they bother? 6.       Think they matter but don’t 7.       Complicate everything 8.       Superficial 9.       Lack ability 10.   Lack personality 11.   Clueless 12.   Ruthless 13.   Make no difference whatsoever 14.   Pen pushers 15.   Grizzlers 16.   Vultures 17.   Leeches 18.   Bullshitters 19.   Fence squatters Interestingly, a number of vocations received ratings in multiple categories. How do you think other people see the work you do? Are they right?