Category Archives: experience

The Playboy Club Bunny Manual

Most companies with staff have some form of an employee handbook.  It’s usually buried deep up there on the dustiest shelf or at the bottom of the never-opened drawer.

It might’ve been section 27 in the big binder you were handed when you started at your job.  It included things like start time, finish time, lunchtime, holidays, how you can be fired (if it comes to it).  Stuff like that.

Not many even talk about (let alone enforce) your expected behaviour as part of a world famous brand experience and that’s a big problem.

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“Come fly with me…”

Being remarkable and memorable involves deliberate steps.

Change the scheme.
Alter the mood.
Interrupt the routine.
Be unexpected.

Need an illustration and example? Watch how this (now famous) airline steward does just that during the usually mundane cabin announcement before the tragic experience that’s air travel in the now times.

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Beer Brand Eats Own Young!

I’m not going to pretend that I know the exact thought process behind this, but from what I see here it looks like the beer parents of one brand are eating their own young.

In this case, the parent is XXXX Gold, a grand old staple of the Aussie beer fraternity.  The young is a new brand on the market in XXXX Summer Bright, Lion Nathan’s Cerveza-styled entry to the market.

Lion Nathan launched XXXX Summer Bright nationally earlier this month with a campaign that included outdoor (having been tested in several Australian geographical markets over the past year).

Here’s the Summer Bright campaign…..

Summer Bright 2010 outdoor

And here’s one of at least 5 billboards I saw yesterday on a cross-town trip.

XXXGold 2010 outdoor

The creative executions are vaguely similar but it’s the media choice (outdoor) which is the factor proving my headline most strongly.
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Challenger v. Defender

You think and act differently when you’re the challenger (or at least you should).

Late comers to a market who desire growth are, by definition, challengers (as distinct from followers).

The category or market leader’s job is to defend their market share from attack, to stand their ground and to use all means they can to tell their stories, which are different to the challenger and usually focused on what made them the leader in the first place.

By contrast, the challenger has to be more nimble.  To take mind and (ultimately) market share from the leader, the challenger needs to craft their stories to attack the core strengths of a defender and tell them in a way that undermines the foundations of the leader and presents a credible alternative.

Communications strategies and tactics that get your stories right into the heart of where your desired audience works, plays and interacts, engaging their senses and emotions will drive your brand forward and start winding out the screws holding the market leader aloft.

Doing the same things as the defender is folly.  It only increases the chance that your stories will get lost amongst theirs, no matter how good, how differentiated or how valuable your offering might be.  It might work to start with but the capacity of the leader to ratchet up their attack is usually greater.  Existing in the shadow of the leader will eventually make you indistinguishable from them.

You’ve probably heard the business riddle: where does a 400-pound gorilla sleep?  Anywhere he wants.

That’s true but a nest of termites can eat the legs out of his bed and make him uncomfortable.

The most exciting boring you’ll never want to know

Confused?  Don’t be.  This post is about sharing, because I’ve just read the most exciting column so far this year, its central theme was on becoming boring and I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Lots of ‘marketers’ these days don’t want to know about this because they want to think of themselves as being at the cutting-edge.  They want to be ahead of the curve when it comes to new and exciting ways to use media and creativity to get their brands up and rocking. Make big noise to get quick cut-through.  Not a lot of longer run thinking going on.

They also often act at the expense of fundamentals and this column is exciting because it talks all about them.  They’re too busy trying to be cool and be seen that they miss why they’re there in the first place.

Naturally, social media and digital are where most of this loss-of-focus occurs though not exclusively.  In this column, the writer (Pete Blackshaw) puts forward the very same argument I’ve been banging on about to clients (and anyone who’ll listen in the marketing and communications game) if they’re to make any kind of difference to their brands and the consumers of them.

Read this great column then go back and make sure these things are covered in your marketing strategy.

Expected error?

I got one of those messages today.  The kind that disrupts your day by disconnecting the flow of work or information:

“An unexpected error has occurred”.

That got me thinking.  Is there any other kind of error?  Where are all the expected errors (the ones that obviously exist, because these messages always seem at pains to tell you that the error is, in fact, unexpected)?  What happens in the machine to cause an unexpected error?  Why don’t I ever get a message that says “sorry, we expected that error.  It must be you”?

The answer is, of course, that I’ll never get one of those because, when an error does occur, it should be completely unexpected, and completely reversible.

When you’re developing strategy to grow your business, especially around customer experience and brand strategy, you’d better make sure that you’re on top of where errors can occur.  If they’re unexpected, deal with them right away; no delay.  If they’re expected, why are they even there in the first place?  Should you have implemented a model that has the potential for expected errors, even if it has a cost-saving?

Is that really the message you want your customers to get?