Archive for January, 2011

I’m a PC. I’m a Mac. What am I?

January 25, 2011

Remember the “I’m a PC. I’m a Mac” TV commercials? Me too. If you were a PC user, you snarled. If you used a Mac, you laughed. T-Mobile is trying desperately to use the same formula to attack AT&T and also dig Apple. They have been running their Mac/PC knock-off campaign for a couple of months and I think they’re missing a key element. Nobody cares.

T-Mobile wants to compare its service with that of AT&T. By using Apple’s “I’m a Mac” campaign, they also hope to take a passing shot at the iPhone maker. Good idea, nice strategy, here’s the problem — NOBODY CARES. The Apple campaign worked because PC users love their PCs (and hate Macs) and Mac users love their Macs (and hate PCs). And by the way, everyone dislikes AT&T, especially iPhone users. Is T-Mobile trying to convince iPhone users to buy an Android phone and switch to T-Mobile? Not going to happen. Once again they are loyal to Apple.

The Apple campaign was smart and well written with great casting. The T-Mobile campaign is ham-handed, forced and comes off as a cheap knock off. Click on the links above and compare for yourself.

P.S. A big high-five to Verizon for getting the iPhone. I hope to be a customer very soon!

THE LOGO EVOLUTION; an optimistic revolution

January 18, 2011

A logo update often speaks of a company trying to stay up-to-date in its offerings while strengthening its’ connection with consumers. But, with Starbucks falling into the bucket of recent logo evolutions within the last few months, I was forced to put down my Venti, Non-fat, Carmel Macchiato and ponder – could it mean something more? Could we be on the cusp of a branding revolution?

Every New Year begins with the hope for better things to come. Resolutions are made to convince ourselves that we can try harder and be more than we were the year prior. Every January, we are motivated to turn over a new leaf, conceive and commit to a better version of ourselves, and to accomplish big things. 

Essentially, a rebranding.

I believe the growing appetite for brand evolutions may possibly be an effort by these companies to demonstrate a new promise for the future – even in spite of familiarity feeling more sensible to their consumers.

Perhaps after being smacked around by the impact of the recession – and still jostling from the residuals – we are all eager for a more optimistic perspective.

According to a recent Gallup Poll, twice as many Americans think the U.S. economy will be better rather than worse in 2011.

2011 Expectation (vs. 2010) In Terms of the Economy (Percent of Group)
  Expectation % of Group
Group Better Same Worse
National adults 52% 21 25
   East 55 24 21
   Midwest 56 25 18
   South 51 20 27
   West 48 17 32
$75K or more 55 23 22
$30K to $75K 52 21 25
Less than $30K 51 20 27
Republicans 46 23 31
Independents 50 23 26
Democrats 62 19 16
Source: Gallup, December 2010

Recent tracking results show that consumers only became increasingly optimistic about the economy as 2010 came to an end.

Gallup analysts suggest this could be due to our general optimistic nature as Americans, or it could possibly reflect views of a recovering economy.  

Or it could simply mean that we are all ready to move forward.

And, honestly, was it the attempt these organizations made to put forth a new image that has been debated? Or the lack of creativity, planning and strategic foresight that has forced us to question the success of these new brand transformations?

As Paul Rand said, “Good design is Good for Business.”

And bad design will get you posted on every blog and Facebook page known to man!


Social Media Unites People and Communities

January 14, 2011

Over the past year, I have blogged readers to sleep about what a great marketing tool we have in social media. I spend so much time reading and talking about it, it’s easy to forget how powerful it is in action. I got a beautiful reminder over the New Year holiday when our very close friends’ dog disappeared on New Year’s Eve.

Our friends’ dog, Elsa, was spending the night with another friend when Elsa got out of the back yard. Elsa’s owners, the Rudisells, were in Charleston and we were in Greenville. In the old days, we were out of luck ‘til we got home. Today, thankfully, we have Facebook.

I jumped on my profile from Greenville, as others had already done in Columbia, and was instantly in touch with the search for Elsa. Knowing her family was devastated, I was grateful for the opportunity to tell hundreds of people where and when she was lost on the off chance someone I know might have seen her or know someone who had.

As we traveled back to Columbia that day, I hoped Elsa was already home. Sadly, she wasn’t. For the next six days, we would search high and wide, driving through neighborhoods miles from home and combing the statuses and comments of strangers who might have seen a dog that might have been Elsa. We never saw Elsa as we searched the adjacent neighborhoods, but we did see something amazing as the days passed.

Michele Affronte noticed it first, posting this note on her profile. As you would expect, those who knew Elsa and her family were driving the search. Before long the search party included people who didn’t know Elsa or the Rudisells. Soon, it also included people who didn’t know any of us; people who simply said they wanted to reunite Elsa with a family that obviously adored her.

The reach we got through social media was simply astounding. Our neighborhood’s Facebook group actively shared our search. Elsa’s story appeared on countless Facebook profiles and business pages, Twitter tweets, e-mail lists and virtual lost pet directories. Friends and commenters shared leads. Friends with businesses offered rewards. Richland County shared. The City of Columbia shared. Our local tourism Twitter hashtag (#famouslyhot) shared. People who follow that hashtag shared.

As the number of people sharing Elsa’s story grew, I saw strangers posting Elsa’s lost dog poster as their profile image. Thanks to a dedicated stranger, the story appeared on WLTX and was picked up in other markets including Charleston and Alabama. It was truly amazing to watch the compassion, sharing and reassuring that went on in this brand new community the week Elsa was lost.

Then, one week after she disappeared, I got the call I‘d been aching for. Elsa had finally wandered into the right hands, all the way over in Eau Claire. She was ten pounds lighter and her pads were painfully worn, but she was finally home where she belonged.

I know social media is not how we found Elsa, but social media helped the search in so many ways.

It helped searchers stay in close contact and share information in real time. It helped quell the hopelessness. It gave people who cared a way to do something in a situation where fate was in control. It showed how local businesses (and their employees) such as Rosso, Tombo Grille and Four Paws Animal Clinic are truly members of our Forest Acres community. It expanded my circle of friends to include new ones and tightened the hold many already have on my heart.

But the biggest lesson for me can also apply to any business or group that’s considering the value of social media. Social media connects people who care. People who care are what power social media.

And that is a pretty amazing thing to have in your corner. Just ask Elsa.

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