Archive for the 'branding' Category

Kip Knight shares how to utilize the power of all to build your business

I was fortunate to attend the Cincinnati area AMA lunch today, where Kip Knight, Vice President – Marketing of eBay spoke about “using the power of all of us to build your business” where he outlined his thoughts on the trending of business and marketing of companies moving into an open sourcing and collaboration model and away from the command and control model so many companies are familiar with.

Kip covered ground quickly, and interspersed his big ideas with humor to keep it light. As a result I left with a couple pages of notes. While Kip didn’t plant to many new ideas in my head, he proved a great review of blogs and articles I’ve read in the past few months. It’s also great to see yet another industry leader such as eBay to embrace these ideas.

You can view my full notes here (pdf download), but I thought I’d share a couple things he mentioned which I found very helpful and interesting.

First, Kip talked about a couple methods/programs they use to monitor the pulse of the eBay community.

* Voices – They fly in 20 users (sellers/buyers) each month and senior management with other key employees sit and talk with these users. Learning what they like about the site, what they don’t like, features they’d find helpful, etc. Once these users visit they become part of the Voices community and can be called in the future to answer questions and provide opinions on new ideas.
* Visits – This method takes 3 ebay employees to visit site users in their homes and watch them sell/buy on eBay. One employee asks questions, another takes notes, and the last video tapes.
* Views – Once a quarter, they conducts topical focus groups around the country on topics that are important to the company and it’s user base. i.e. Topic for Q2 2008 is safety

Secondly, he mentioned a couple stats I found very intriguing, the first of which is that 40% of the things sold on eBay are sold/listed via their API. 40%! That’s huge!

He also mentioned Wikipedia and how it’s huge user base allows for it to have a minimal staff of 5 full time employees, yet it is very agile in maintaining it’s product (obscenities last online for 1.7 minutes). It blows my mind that they are that quick in removing information that doesn’t conform to their community rules.

His talk sparked quite a few questions and ideas that require a bit more development, but I’ll follow up with additional posts later as those thoughts tie in for me, especially how they work with Abunga.

He also endorsed a book that I’m currently reading which is “Ultimate Question: For Unlocking the Door to Good Profits and True Growth” by Frederick F. Reichheld. The book focuses on the use of what is called the Net Promoter Score, boiling down to the question – would you recommend us to a friend? Pretty simple question, but very pertinent.

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Have a great Easter.

brand for the movement

Anyone out there brand movements for a living?

I’ve had the thought to do this post for a while, but Olivier over at the brand builder blog (one of my favorite blogs) shared this post on terrorist branding which jogged my memory.

As I was driving down the highway a few months ago I was passed by a  white tahoe that had a magnet on the side of it that said

“Save the ta-ta’s”

and as it passed me, its license plate read

“PNKRBN”

Now, with these two clues I was left to guess what the driver of this vehicle supporting.  My guess is Breast awareness.

Pink ribbons have become synonymous with breast cancer support in the last few years and have probably achieved a higher recognition rate then many of the other support movements or even companies founded in that time frame.

The question that echoes for me is how? Did they achieve such reach? How did they get such staying power?
Is it the simplicity of the message? Is it the global need? Is it the emotional tie?

Either way, well done to those that contributed to the idea of the campaign, and the movement. Much good has come from the pink ribbon and I applaud those who support such worthy causes. (Don’t forget next month is breast cancer awareness month)

sushi design

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This past weekend a friend and I went to downtown Knoxville for a concert. On our way we decided we’d have dinner downtown; I’m becoming a lover of sushi, so we headed to a great little place called nama. Excellent atmosphere, great food, great service, overall a wonderful time. I’d highly recommend it. When you go I suggest asking your waitress about specials that aren’t on the menu. We had two of the fore-mentioned specials and they were fabulous. This isn’t about the food though, this is about design.

So on our way out I grabbed a business card so I could put the number into my phone for future reference. When I got back to the house to put it in I noticed that the front of the card is fairly normal looking.

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A pretty clean trendy design. When I flipped the card over to put in in my drawer I noticed that the graphic continued to the back side, creating chopsticks holding a fish. Now I find that ingenious. Sure it’s just a little design kick, but it’s the attention to detail that I find intriguing.

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Which reminds me of an e-newsletter last week from a local design group, Hornsby Brand Design, who incidentally does great work. In the newsletter they quoted an interview Tom Peters did for Corporate Design Foundation’s @ Issue magazine (Vol. 6, No. 1). He had great stuff to say, but the line that struck me the most was the following.

“I think 99% of us appreciate design on a personal level. Why else do we agonize over what color car to buy and what style reflects who we are?” he said. “But we turn it off when we come to the office…Pay attention to stuff that turns you on or turns you off–and don’t worry about why. You’ll begin to find that your preferences go from the deep soul aesthetic stuff to ‘usability’ features.”

Essentially, we all care about design when it’s “Me, Inc.” that will be represented, but we stop when it’s our company brand that is on the table. Personal preferences matter, because without them we develop brands without preferences. Which makes it like sushi rice. Sushi rice has pretty much no taste, but when you add the various meats, sauces, garnishes, ginger and wasabi it comes to life.

I know I need to be more diligent in this application in my own life.

What about you?

Have a great day everyone.

no free lunch, or is there?

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One of the oddities of where I live is that we have a lot, a lot of American-Mexican places to eat. One of the places I go frequently is Moe’s. One of the features of Moe’s is that when you walk in they yell, “Welcome to Moe’s” and then that call is echoed by other workers around the store and even by some people that are eating. Funny or Freaky depending on your preference. So it’s already a unique experience.

So at my table was a table-topper that says.

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“Nothing says Happy Birthday Like a Free Burrito”

Now that’s awesome. What’s there to it? You register online and get a free burrito. [If interested you can do it here] Who doesn’t love a free burrito? Now the adage “there’s no free lunch” applies here, since when I sign up to get my burrito I’m actually paying with the information I supply.

So it’s a promotion that is simple, quirky, and fun to the customer. It uses the voice that customers expect. It epitomizes the Moe’s. And Moe’s get a veritable wealth of information. They get a name, city/state, and where you live in that city, which from which they can determine relative income, etc. and they get your age. Plus a method to contact you, your email. Even better it’s permission based. It’s not spam, you are choosing to give your information, and agree to be contacted. [Now Moe’s could take this info and miss-use it, but let’s hope for my sake, and theirs it doesn’t happen]

In short, it’s simply a great example of a relatively unobtrusive way to create a connection with a customer (and learn a lot about who is buying/visiting your stores).

It may not be completely free, but it will be a nice birthday burrito.


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