Friday, March 29

Reservation Confirmation



I saw a Facebook post from a friend the other day that really struck a cord.  He was complaining about having to call a restaurant back to confirm your reservation.

I have to agree, that it's the most annoying part of the process.  I get why some restaurants ask patrons to confirm, dropped reservations and "no-shows" are costly to the operations.  But there's something oddly irritating about having to make that second call.  It just doesn't feel right as part of the overall experience.  And when you add a snippy host to the equation, then the experience is off to a bad start.

I do get it though ... restaurants have to do something to cut down on the "no-shows."

There's a restaurant in LA that has taken it a step further, and they're getting called out on it in the process.

Red Medicine in LA has started tweeting the names of people who bail out on their reservations.  Now in a town like LA where hot ressies are not easy to come by, this could be quite the threat and incentive.  They are actually naming names with a bit of a snark ... nothing like public humiliation to motivate the right behavior.

I do get it though ... but this seems to take it a bit too far, don't you think ... unless this is the experience that they are trying to create?

The customer should be the boss and the entire focus should be on the customers' positive experience.  Sure, if you have people who continually drop off, then address it with them.  Isn't there another way around it?

What do you think?  What's your experience?  Jim.

Jim Joseph
- President, Cohn & Wolfe NA
- Author, The Experience Effect series
- Professor, NYU
- Contributor, Entrepreneur


Thursday, March 28

The Fate of Watches


It's amazing what's become of the good old fashioned wrist watch.  It happens to be an accessory that I love and collect; a "must-have it" fashion item, at least for me. 

And that's exactly it, a fashion item and that's about it.

The other day I actually counted four occasions in one afternoon where someone asked someone else "what time is it," and instead of checking the watch they were wearing, they pulled out their smart phone.  In each occasion, it would have been easier to check the watch, but instead they looked at their screen.

Noticing this I actually asked and the response was, "the smart phone is more accurate."

Feeling a bit curious, I checked my watches that I wear on a regular basis and noted that many had the wrong time and many more had batteries that I died.  I didn't even notice.  Hadn't even changed the time for daylight savings.

Now surely, watches are not dead.  The magazines are loaded with advertising and all the celebs are still representing the big brands.  It's just that their usefulness has changed.  It's no longer about keeping time, it's about staying in style.  And I believe for a man, it can help to define a look ... help define your brand even.  The watch you wear can say a lot about who you are.

Nothing wrong with that, just an interesting evolution in our pop culture created by technology and our own personal sense of style.  Is this making room for a smart watch?

What's your experience?  Jim.

Jim Joseph
- President, Cohn & Wolfe NA
- Author, The Experience Effect series
- Professor, NYU
- Contributor, Entrepreneur

Wednesday, March 27

Too Late for March Madness?

We are certainly in the thick of the pop culture phenomenon of the season:  March Madness.   As a marketer, it's still not too late to jump into the game.

Here's an article I wrote for Entrepreneur ... give it a read!

What's your experience?  Jim.

Jim Joseph
- President, Cohn & Wolfe NA
- Author, The Experience Effect series
- Professor, NYU
- Contributor, Entrepreneur

Tuesday, March 26

Permission to Tweet


I'm seeing an interesting phenomenon developing in business meetings and business social settings.

Granting the permission to tweet.

We've become such a culture of sharing, and when it comes to our own industry many of us like to share what we are participating in and discussing with our colleagues.  It's become a part of what we do.

But we do have to remind ourselves that we are often in confidential situations - even when they are somewhat "social" in nature.  Business dinners, networking parties, industry seminars.  Some of those topics are just not "shareable" and in fact we should ask permission if we intend to post the discussions.  Some of our colleagues may not want specific information shared.

So it's become protocol to ask permission, or if you are host to grant permission to share the content.  It's just the right thing to do these days.

What's your experience?  Jim.

Jim Joseph
- President, Cohn & Wolfe NA
- Author, The Experience Effect series
- Professor, NYU
- Contributor, Entrepreneur

Monday, March 25

A Fresh Oreo


It's not easy staying relevant year after year as a brand ... let alone for 100 years.  Consumer tastes ebb and flow, competitors come and go, and your own management team constantly changes.  It's not easy staying fresh and relevant over the years.

"It's not easy being green," as they say.

So we have to give some props to brand Oreo.  It remains the number one selling cookie in the US, and was developed in the Chelsea neighborhood of NYC in 1912.  1912!  And while this particular cookie could be viewed as old and tired, it's nothing but that.  It actually feels particularly fresh and relevant these days.

How?  It is aggressively inserting itself into pop culture and social media like never before.

With what?  An amazingly consistent brand equity and messaging that engages consumers in the age old debate:  lick or no-lick, dunk or no-dunk.  Just as fresh as ever ... and we know there is nothing better than a fresh Oreo!

Where?  Everywhere, including print, tv, digital, instore, and particularly in social media.  The brand made a strong and unexpected stand during The Super Bowl this year with its impromptu "dunk in the dark" tweet heard 'round the world when the lights went out in the stadium.  The brand has not stopped since, setting trends in social media marketing like it was a teenager, let alone a centenarian.

Props to Oreo for staying fresh, current and relevant in our lives.  BTW, I'm a no-lick, no-dunk kind of guy ... keeping it pure.



What's your experience?  Jim

Jim Joseph
- President, Cohn & Wolfe NA
- Author, The Experience Effect series
- Professor, NYU
- Contributor, Entrepreneur

Friday, March 22

Louboutin for Men


You know you've got the makings of a great brand when there's an iconic element that readily identifies you and what you stand for.

Louboutin shoes certainly has it with their signature styles and red sole.  Wearing and seeing that flash of red quickly makes a statement about who you want to be and the lifestyle you want to lead.  The brand is making a statement and so are you by wearing it.  The red sole even has patent protection, something almost impossible to attain in fashion.

Now you may not buy into that, so you likely will not buy into the brand as a result.  That's what a great brand does ... it appeals to a specific kind of person appropriate to the brand's identity.  For many women, that red sole is a highly emotional symbol.

Knowing that, I found it very interesting to see Louboutin expand into men's shoes.  The brand is so firmly entrenched in women's fashion, how on earth could it do a gender bender?

Now when you do extend your brand, you have to carry over your brand identity and iconography ... and what you stand for.

Apparently this was quite easy for Louboutin; the line is quite large both online and in select stores.  Clearly the brand values are the same, just obviously adapted to men's fashion and a certain kind of men's fashion.  The Louboutin kind. 

I doubt this would work for all men, but it clearly does for some ... which again is the point of great branding and great target marketing.

So while I initially found it surprising, on reflection I have to say, "but of course."

What's your experience?  Jim.

Jim Joseph
President, Cohn & Wolfe NA
Author, The Experience Effect series
Marketing Professor, NYU

Thursday, March 21

My Entrepreneur Magazine Series


I'm a big believer that marketing is marketing, regardless of the brand, category, industry, or target market.  And certainly regardless of the size.

There's a bit of a tried and true approach, that can be modified and applied to a brand of any size.  This theory is the inspiration behind my second book, The Experience Effect for Small Business.

The folks at Entrepreneur Magazine asked me to share my thinking in a series of articles that will post online.  In the series, I will explore this notion, offering a step by step perspective on how small businesses can replicate the successes of the big brands.

The first installment debuted yesterday, and will run bi-monthly.  You can give it a read here.  Appreciate it.

What's your experience?  Jim.

Jim Joseph
President, Cohn & Wolfe NA
Author, The Experience Effect series
Marketing Professor, NYU



http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/226155?hootPostID=2b2ef477d22d0a4fc3e9888aa809043e

Wednesday, March 20

A Tale of Two (Driving) Videos

There are two very distinct online videos that are capturing attention these days, and they couldn't be farther apart themeatically.  Both are very well done, engaging, and brand-shaping for very different reasons.  I point them out together to show the range of emotions that can exist when viewing within seconds of each other as we speak to our consumers.  And also the range at which a brand can choose to engage.

First up is the Pepsi Max video with Nascar driver Jeff Gordon.  Can always count on Nascar, and evidently Pepsi Max, for a little thrill.  At last check, over 23 million views.



Now along comes this new online documentary from none other than AT&T.  IMHO it is the most persuasive piece I've seen on the topic of texting and driving, bar none.  It's gotten over 3 million views so far.  You gotta see it, share it, and show your kids.  Send it to everyone that you are in contact with throughout the day.



"One LOL and I killed a man."  Wow.  Bravo AT&T.  Let's hope it sparks behavioral change ... even just one behavioral change.  "Texting and driving, it can wait!"  Indeed.

What's your experience?  Jim.

Jim Joseph
President, Cohn & Wolfe NA
Author, The Experience Effect series
Marketing Professor, NYU