Order Confirmed – Customer Charmed

roadid_logo

I’m always amazed by unique marketing that hits me in unexpected ways.  Below is the exact order confirmation email I received from RoadID – a small company specializing in runner safety.

Hello Rob,
I have some fantastic news! No…you didn’t win the lottery, but your Road ID order was shipped today (9/23/2013). Per your request, it was shipped via USPS Priority Mail.

We are not only super excited to have you as a customer, we are amped that you’re in the great state of Massachusetts. Here’s a fun fact for you: the Boston University Bridge on Commonwealth Avenue in Boston is the only place in the world where you can sail a boat under a train which is traveling under a car which is driving under an airplane. Confusing, I know, but equally awesome.

We hope you had a great experience shopping with us. We are thrilled to have you as a customer and hope we can count on you to spread the word about the importance of wearing ID. So, if you need anything from us, or just want to say “what’s up,” feel free to reply to this email, give us a call, write a letter, send a telegram, or whip up a smoke signal.

Be safe out there, and let me know if you have any questions.

Cheers,

What I like most about this is that it takes such a mundane automated process and uses it as an opportunity to further strengthen the consumer relationship.  I’ve yet to receive a single package from them and I already have an affinity for the company and brand.

Two immediate business effects this will have:

1.  IF something goes wrong I’m going to cut them more slack.  This email is humanizing and likable so if the order is late or there is a mistake I’m more likely to approach it as a person instead of a faceless company.

2.  Increase brand loyalty for free.  As I said above, I already like these guys.  I’m clearly sitting here writing about them, and I’m far more likely to share their story with friends (like you).

Makes you think?

What consumer touch points could I take better advantage of going forward?

What are some unique but scalable ways to better interact with customers overall?

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I Work Less to Get More Done

The idea of the 4 Hour Work Week, Results Only Work Environments ROWE), or the 25 Hour Work Week (in this particular case) are all manifestations of the same idea that have fascinated me recently.  I’m 100% behind this style of management and can’t wait to see the movement grow.  As someone who has only worked in traditional environments I find myself yearning for results driven work and guilty of the pit falls of traditional environments.

Here’s a few especially notable clips from this article.

  • “I hired very competent managers who knew I expected them to work hard. They knew they couldn’t be afraid to make a decision. Sometimes the decisions were right, and sometimes there should have been a different approach. The important thing is that the decision was made.” – Mayor Richard Daley
  • “The benefits of a six-month schedule with three-day weekends are obvious. But there’s one surprising effect of the changed schedule: better work gets done in four days than in five.” – Jason Fried

The Good The Bad and The Attractive

AA.Logo

It’s oh so tempting – nay easy and well deserved – to rip rebranding efforts.  Gap? Tropicana?  However, every now and then someone does it right, and I have to admit that American Airlines nailed it this time.  I remember clicking the headline not long ago already frothing for the chance to dig my claws into another member of the maligned airline industry for its disconnected ways and outdated philosophies.  But when I opened the project I took pause and just admired.  So many layers; so many thoughts; nothing negative of note.  So with that I present to you The Good The Bad and The Attractive.

THE GOOD

  • Strategy – Launching the rebrand in conjunction with a hefty plane purchase is a double down bet and won big.
  • Welcome to 2013 – The original logo is from 1968 and anyone who has flown or interacted with AA recently probably feels like they took a trip back.  The new logo, imagery, planes, communication and website usher them into 2013.
  • Comprehensive – AA did a solid job launching this across most consumer touch points very quickly (for an airline) and I assume only better things to come.

THE BAD

  • Coach – If there is one thing I can easily criticize it’s a swing and a miss at redesigning coach.  It doesn’t match the rebrand, and still sits ages behind the likes of Virgin and JetBlue.  But this is a swing and miss on a pitch, not the final out.

THE ATTRACTIVE

  • Logo – Let’s talk about this logo.  WOW.  So visually impactful with so little.  Your brain is forced to fill in the rest of the iconic A.  The shape itself is formed from a tilted tail wing while also drawing the imagery of an eagle through it.  The color scheme keeps the obvious American feel while doing it in a way that reflects today, and the whole thing screams motion forward.  Highest praise to @FutureBrand for amazing work in a very critical and subjective field. 
  • The Plane The Plane – [Couldn’t help it] Seriously they are a thing of American Beauty.  I think the abstract American Flag design on the tail is incredibly modern, powerful and again screams motion forward.

aa.plane

RedBox Really?

Redbox and Verizon are joining forces in a JV effort to add streaming video to their entertainment arsenal, but does that JV stand for Joint Venture or Junior Varsity in this case?

Rightfully so, they are being coy regarding the details of the service so I only have preliminary information and foresight to go on so stick with me here and grab some good info from this FastCompany post to educate yourself.

The service seems like a nice blend of what Blockbuster tried to do and what Netflix has continually screwed up, but ultimately something consumers could get down with.  Blockbuster currently offers in store exchanges (if you can find a store) of their mail in videos for faster exchanges and constant movies.  However, they never synced their kiosks and a streaming service which would have been a powerful move.  Netflix let power go to their head and tried to blow everything up while never having a physical presence.

RedBox now sits with a strong network of kiosks for impulse rents and needs to make the leap to digital.  A partnership with Verizon is smart because it will allow each to focus on a core competency and execute properly.  I think they are putting more stock in the RedBox brand than is really warranted, but that’s a minor contention.

What has me really on the fence at this point is that it is a subscription service so I worry that it will be too little too late.  Would you switch from whatever service you have to have Kiosk access?  Would you add their fee to have it?  I would guess if you have Netflix you would still throw down the occasional couple of bucks for a disk out of the kiosk – especially since content across all of these options is insanely fragmented.  I’m not sure this is enough to get people to add/switch.

Here’s a few suggestions for them that I think would help push it over the top.

  1. CONTENT CONTENT CONTENT – Did I mention content?  Seriously they need to maximize the offering and own the competition in this area.  Hulu free service is getting worse by the second; I’m not even sure Netflix has movies; HBO is too limited… Get on it!
  2. Innovate distribution – How about cheap airport kiosk that you can rent just for the flight?  Or temp download from one airport wifi and dump it 12 hours later?  Lots of options, but it has to offer consumers content where/when they want it.
  3. Nail Pricing – Easier said than done I know.  This is key in pushing people to add or switch.  If you offer a very similar service to the alternatives then you need to be cheaper.  Even if you master my first two suggestions, you still need to be on par with their pricing.  I’d also keep non-subscription options open.  I’m sure they will do this at Kiosks, but will there be a streaming pay-per-view option?

There’s a lot of questions still out there, but it’s such an interesting business to explore that I couldn’t help it.  Hope you enjoyed!  Comments???

Flip Your Competition a Middle Toe

This ad epitomizes all that is right with advertising to me and it is the visual stamp on a multi-prong campaign that solidified Vibram’s place in the uber competitive footwear market.  This story is so great it doesn’t really need my commentary, but I believe genius like this needs to be shared.

Here’s the quick summary of the background:

  • Vibram makes Five Fingers shoes… the first of their kind.
  • The people rejoice – the competition gets annoyed
  • Several people completely rip them off and flood the market with counterfeits
  • Anxious consumers enticed by sweet prices by crappy rip offs
  • The people stop rejoicing and send a big WTF to Vibram
  • Vibram calls a WTF meeting and quickly identify the culprit and what to do
  • They then simultaneously tell the customers how to be on the look out for crap shoes, take all legal actions available to stop the flood, take care of the disenfranchised customers  that they had no obligation to satisfy, and of course produce a stunningly concise ad.
  • The plan solidifies the consumer base, establishes the brand and might just have saved the company
  • The people rejoice

 

Marketing in Hell: 6 Lessons from Gordon Ramsey and Hell’s Kitchen

I’m a firm believer that you can draw business lessons from just about anywhere.  To take that thought a step further, I believe the best marketers are the ones who take in content, ideas and thoughts from the widest range of sources and have the keen ability to apply it to what they want to do.  So with that, I pull from the unlikely world of reality TV to present you with 6 marketing lessons.

6 Lessons from Gordon Ramsey and Hell’s Kitchen

  1. Protect your brand:  Who are you?  What do you do better than anyone else?  When people see your logo what do they believe?  Now defend that at all costs because in a world of knock offs, consistently delivering on that promise is the real value of a brand.  Gordon would rather turn customers away than serve food that isn’t perfect… especially if it’s RAW!
  2. Demand Integrity:  This is a way of protecting your brand.  Critics, share holders, directors, customers may scream cheaper, faster!  And neither of these are bad unless they are at the cost of integrity.  Ask any chef that passed through Hell’s kitchen if it’s OK to pre-cook some food, or use a canned vegetable.  They might still shutter from the memories of that mistake.
  3. Build Teams on Passion:  Find passion wherever passion may lie and develop that into the skilled teammate you need.  I’ve seen many a skilled cook vanish before a passionate one in Hell’s.  Passion can’t be faked, and when your people don’t have it neither will your products.
  4. Innovate, then innovate more then consider innovating:  You could argue that every episode of Hell’s Kitchen is exactly the same, which to a point is true.  But Gordon and the producers have brought clever idea after clever idea to the program and viewers still tune in by the droves.  Even within the constraints of TV and dramatic formatting they find a way to infuse creativity into every episode.
  5. SCREAM!  Sometimes literally scream what you have and why it’s awesome.  In each boisterous critique of a dish or chef Gordon is telling the world, “I demand the best, and that’s why you should come to my establishments.”  I’m sure he’s always had a strong voice, but adding a TV show gave him a megaphone on top of that.  Each scream echoes across the nation and reiterates his brand promise.
  6. Live your brand:  Hell’s Kitchen, Master Chef, Kitchen Nightmares… it doesn’t matter where you see the Man, it’s the same Gordon day, night, weekend.  Hell, I think if I were ordering some crappy food and he crossed my path he’d probably scoff at me for making a bad decision.  This relates to passion, but I wanted to expand it to show it doesn’t stop in the office.

Hope you enjoyed.  Comment here or on Twitter @RobJDay

The 6 Most Definitive Un-Arguable Reasons Lists Make Great Posts

Whether you’ve made one or read one lists have surely been a big part of your internet life.  Here are the 6 most definitive absolutely true every time reasons they make great posts!

  1. Ring the bell; I’m ready to fight!  Ever read the catchy title of a list post and think “oh no you didn’t” or perhaps something with more expletives?  Maybe the title of this post got your dander up.  “What the hell does he know?”  That’s fair and part of why lists are  awesome.  Hit on a topic people care about and they will read and engage.  That’s the whole reason we’re writing right?  See my next list the 5 reasons you are writing – a comprehensive list 🙂
  2. Your reading this aren’t you?  For a combination of reasons people are drawn to lists, and to each his/her own.  Whatever combination of influences brought you here, the point is your reading it and hopefully laughing at yourself a little.
  3. You know what you are committing to before you even click the link.  Five reasons ice cream is tasty???? Yea I can jump into that for a min.  13,000 reasons the Vikings did not take over the globe – yea I don’t think I’m ready for that kind of commitment yet… it’s not you; it’s me…
  4. Easy peasey.  I’m not going to lie to you… I thought this up and knocked it out in about 30 min which in the world of content creation is a blink.  Think of interesting topic, write down some things within the topic, elaborate with cheap humor.  Now you have a list!
  5. Flattery equals instant sharing.  Not only do we like making and reading lists… we LOVE being in them… even if it’s a bad list, at least someone is mentioning you.  Which reminds me thanks @EliseKovi for inspiring this lazy post.  Call out your friends, your enemies, your pets… I don’t care.  As long as you can throw someone in the mix they will probably engage in some manner.
  6. Addiction.  Like morning coffee, lists are an addiction.  Humans love to put order to the world; it’s natural.  We love to rank, file, rate and vote.  Lists help make that happen.  They take a large complex topic and put it into digestible well ordered bits… addicting little bits…

So there you have it.  These are the six and only six reasons lists make awesome posts.