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Tag, I’m it!

December 3, 2006

So there’s this silly little game flying through the blogosphere.   I first caught wind of it at Phil’s blog and followed as he tagged Liz…who got me.  Since it’s the weekend, I’m game to divert a little of our attention away from marketing and branding. 

The rules are simple.  Share five things about yourself that most people wouldn’t know and tag 5 other bloggers to do the same.  Here goes!
Ven

  • I’ve crossed the threshold of Walt Disney World at least once a year since it opened in 1971.
  • I could be President of Venezuela —>  (I was born down there while my parents did an overseas stint for work. )
  • I hung out with the movie star Ashley Judd for a weekend in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
  • I really dislike feet.  Don’t like to look at them or touch them.  Have no idea why.  But, if I ever were the President of Venezuela – I would outlaw sandals.
  • You can find me in the TV special (now on DVD) of a very famous country music duo.

Hey — Starbucker, Doug,  Roberta, Sandy, Tom…come play if you’d like!

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Ease into the week– What brand intersects with your holidays?

December 3, 2006

I don’t know about you but Sunday nights are time for me to catch up.  On my reading, on my work, on my relationships — all with an eye on Monday morning and knowing that the 180 mph pace is about to resume.

Sundays also seem to be my day for deep thoughts.  I thought it might be fun to ease into the week together with a question that is sort of about branding and marketing but also has a personal element to it as well.  A chance to get to know each other AND talk shop.  Perfect for a Sunday night.

One element that incredible brands and the holidays have in common is deeply-held emotions.  Power brands are the ones that consumers hold in their heads AND hearts.  The holidays are the same.  Our heads get wrapped around the party planning, gift wrapping and all the other details.  But our hearts cherish the magical memories that trigger our emotional core.

So here’s this week’s question:

What brand (or specific product or service) plays a key role in your holiday memories and emotions?  How did it earn such a noteworthy place in your family’s traditions, memories or story telling?

Mine?  Silly but somehow significant.  Lifesavers Story Books.   Lifesaver_1 You know, the little cardboard box filled with 10 rolls of lifesavers?   They probably cost  a couple bucks, but  our holiday would not be the same without them.  My mom started the tradition when my little sister and I were just kids.  Every year, Santa would bring us each one.   

Today, some 40+ years later, Santa still brings every member of the family their own book.   We joke about it  "oh…what a surprise, a lifesaver book!"  But I know I would be  awfully disappointed if  there wasn’t one under the tree with my name on it.

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Knock down the barriers (Marketing Lessons from Walt)

December 2, 2006

This is the last in my eight-day series – Marketing Lessons from Walt.  As my family and I enjoy Walt Disney World, I’m going to capture some of the marketing genius that I believe began with Walt’s passion and has now grown into one of the world’s most powerful brands.

On the road to every sale there are barriers.  It might be price, or timing or who knows what.  A smart marketer removes as many of the barriers as they can anticipate.   Disney is a master at this.  Throughout their theme parks, there are shops.  Lots and lots of shops.  You can buy anything from t-shirts to works of art and just about everything in between.  Hauling those packages around with you all day is a pain.  And could deter many a purchase.  But never fear…Disney has lots of options.20061201compliment

  • You can have the packages delivered right to your Disney resort
  • You can have the packages shipped home
  • You can have your packages sent to the front of the park and pick up your treasures on the way out
  • You can rent a locker and put your packages there
  • You can take one of the business cards, jot down the item number and call later to order it

What barriers keep your customers from buying?  What have you done to remove them?  Do your customers know?

Marketing Lessons from Walt – The Series:

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Dance with the one that brought you (Marketing Lessons from Walt)

December 1, 2006

This is the seventh in my eight-day series – Marketing Lessons from Walt.  As my family and I enjoy Walt Disney World, I’m going to capture some of the marketing genius that I believe began with Walt’s passion and has now grown into one of the world’s most powerful brands.

Most organizations expend 95% of their marketing efforts chasing after potential business.  Once a client is in the door, it’s onto the next.  Chalk up the win and go after the next big fish in the pond, right?

Not so fast my friend.  It’s your current clients who keep your doors open.  And are the most likely to give you  new opportunities and sales.  Disney understands while its great to get new faces into their theme parks, they need to reward those most loyal guests as well.  One way they do this is by extending park hours to those guests who are staying in a Disney owned resort.   

20061201hours With a special wrist band, Disney resort guests can enjoy the most popular rides and attractions without long lines.  There’s an air of exclusivity at being able to wave your wrist band and stay to play another few hours.  It sure makes us glad we’re staying where we are.

How do you reward your current clients?  How do you make them feel special and valued?   Are you sure they know about the little extras you give them?  Don’t be so sure.  It may not be a wrist band…but be sure you find a way to reward your good clients and make sure they know they’re appreciated.

Marketing Lessons from Walt – The Series:

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Blogtipping — December ’06

December 1, 2006

Blogtipping_1 I am joining with my fellow bloggers in celebrating some new blogs that I discovered this past month.  As is the blogtipping tradition, (created by Easton Ellsworth) I’ll offer a few reasons why I like the blog and one suggestion for improvement.

The Ripple Effect: Maximum Ripple is Steve Harper’s reminder to us all that our lives are intertwined and we can create the professional and personal lives we hunger for.

Things I love:

  • Your questions and musings make me slow down and think.  Thank you.
  • I respect and appreciate how much of yourself you share in your posts.
  • I think your weekly "features" are a great idea.

Suggestion: 

  • Add some visuals to break up your copy.

Do You Q? is Mitch Matthews addictive blog of thought-provoking questions.

Things I love:

  • The randomness of the questions — sometimes silly, sometimes profound.
  • Reading your readers’ comments is almost as much fun as answering your questions.
  • Your visuals are right on the money for your questions.

Suggestion:

  • Post more often and find a way to link your readers to game sales (a contest maybe or helping a charity?)

Slow Leadership is an inspiring, resource rich study on leadership.

Things I love:

  • Incredible content.  Very current and thought provoking.
  • The quick summary feature.  At a glance, I can tell if the post is something I want to read.
  • There’s lots of meat in every post.  I am not left wanting for more.

Suggestion:

  • Include a bio and tell us a little about who you are and what you’re all about.  (If there is such info available on the site, I couldn’t find it.  If it’s there — make it easier to find!)

There you have it discerning readers…until next month’s blogtipping adventure!

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Set Expectations (Marketing Lessons from Walt)

December 1, 2006

This is the sixth in my eight-day series – Marketing Lessons from Walt.  As my family and I enjoy Walt Disney World, I’m going to capture some of the marketing genius that I believe began with Walt’s passion and has now grown into one of the world’s most powerful brands.

Human nature dictates that we are much more comfortable with the known.  While surprises are nice if they’re fun-filled, no one likes a nasty surprise, like a rush charge or an extra long wait for a product or service delivery.  The folks at Disney understand that human truth.  So they set expectations for their guests.

20061130waitjpg At the front of every attraction there is a sign that tells you the current wait time.  (Night photography is not my forte!) You make an informed decision — is Space Mountain worth a 90  minute wait?  Is Big Thunder Mountain enough fun to stand in line for 45 minutes?  Customers don’t mind boundaries or consequences if they know in advance what they are.   I’ll bet it won’t surprise you to learn that if there’s a 20 minute wait posted at a Disney attraction, the real wait time is more like 10-15 minutes.  Set expectations and when possible — exceed them.

Do you set your clients’ expectations?    Billing, delivery times, levels of service, your availability, etc.?    How do you do that?  Conversation?  A New Client handbook?  A contract? 

How you set them is a communications choice.  But setting them is just smart business.

Marketing Lessons from Walt – The Series:

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Listen and Respond (Marketing Lessons from Walt)

November 29, 2006

This is the fifth in my eight-day series – Marketing Lessons from Walt.  As my family and I enjoy Walt Disney World, I’m going to capture some of the marketing genius that I believe began with Walt’s passion and has now grown into one of the world’s most powerful brands.

For many families, a trip to Disneyland or Walt Disney World is a once in a lifetime experience.  Kids dream for years before they finally get to step into the Magic Kingdom.  So the expectations are incredibly high.  This can’t just be a fun vacation.  This needs to be the uber vacation. 

One of Disney’s habits that has helped launch and maintain their brand’s success is that they listen and respond to what they hear.  It’s not uncommon to get stopped by a survey taker in one of the theme parks.

Here’s an example.  Kids arrive at Disney World with one goal.  Meet Mickey Mouse.  It’s their core reason for making the journey.  They have dreamed of that moment for years.  It used to be that it was left to chance.  If a child happened to be in a particular spot in the Magic Kingdom, when Mickey was there signing autographs then the child’s dream was fulfilled.  But, if the fates didn’t align, the child was likely to go home having seen Mickey in the parade but never being able to hug or interact with the Big M himself.

20061127withmickeyjpg_1

Parents shared this insight with Disney officials and Toon Town was created.  A whole new land, where you can tour Mickey and Minnie’s homes and, no matter what else is going on in the park — meet Mickey.  Mickey now waits for his fans, young and old, to come visit him in Toon Town.  Today, no child has to leave their uber vacation without a Mouse encounter.   Cue the happy music.

When was the last time you asked your customers what they wanted or needed from you?  How did you let them know that you heard them?  Never asked?  What’s stopping you?(My dad and daughter enjoy their mouse meeting)

Marketing Lessons from Walt – The Series:

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What’s the most significant aspect of marketing/advertising 2006?

November 28, 2006

That is the question posed by David Armano over at his Logic + Emotion blog.  He asks:

What was the most significant event/aspect of 2006 in regards to marketing, advertising or user experience?

He will use readers’ comments and thoughts in creating a visual to sum it all up.  The answers are well worth the read, whether they end up in the visual or not.

Join in the conversation.  After all, some might suggest that’s a pretty significant aspect of 2006.

An interesting side question is of course…what’s next?  How will what happened this year influence 2007?  What do you predict will have some staying power?  What will become a fad and fade away?  How are you going to capture and harness these evolutions?

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Evolve (Marketing Lessons from Walt)

November 28, 2006

This is the fourth in my eight-day series – Marketing Lessons from Walt.  As my family and I enjoy Walt Disney World, I’m going to capture some of the marketing genius that I believe began with Walt’s passion and has now grown into one of the world’s most powerful brands.

When Walt originally conceived Disneyland and Walt Disney World, his vision was to create a place where entire families, from toddler to grandparent, could enjoy the attractions together.  No health warnings, no height requirements.  And so they were built.

Fast forward to today, where the Rockin’ Roller Coaster is one of the most popular attractions at WDW.  This roller coaster is not for the faint of heart.  You go from 0-60 mph in 2.8 seconds and right into an upside down loop.   I can only imagine what Walt is thinking.20061128guitarjpg

But, then again, Walt was about as savvy a marketer as you can find.  So he is probably nodding his head and recognizing that strong brands must evolve with the times, the consumer, and the competition.  Had Disney executives clung to Walt’s vision without taking new realities into account, I’m not sure the theme parks would have survived for the past several decades.

Today’s Disney is a blend of Walt’s original family friendly vision and a modern amusement park.  The brand has evolved and thrived.

When was the last time you did a reality check on your own organization’s brand?  Are you stuck in a vision of the past?  Is it time for an evolution?

Marketing Lessons from Walt – The Series:

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Details, Details (Marketing Lessons from Walt)

November 28, 2006

This is the third in my eight-day series – Marketing Lessons from Walt.  As my family and I enjoy Walt Disney World, I’m going to capture some of the marketing genius that I believe began with Walt’s passion and has now grown into one of the world’s most powerful brands.

The moment you cross onto Disney property, the magic begins.  Yes, there are billboards touting the newest attractions.  Sure, you might catch a glimpse of  one of the signature structures like Epcot’s giant ball or Cinderella’s castle at the Magic Kingdom, but really it starts with their traffic signs.

Yup, traffic signs.  We all know what they look like, right?  Not Disney’s.  You know you have crossed the threshold when you see signs like the one to the right.20061127parade2jpg_1

The purple signs with mouse ear directional arrows are Disney’s way of signaling that a remarkable experience lies ahead.  An experience where the attention to detail will delight and surprise you.  Could they have used the standard street signs?  Sure.  But there was nothing special in doing it that way.

How do you signal your clients that something special is about to happen?  That you and your company are extraordinary?  What happens in your meetings or on your website or when your phone is answered that promises delights to come?  Or are you just using the standard street signs?

Marketing Lessons from Walt – The Series:

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