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December 2011 - Page 2 of 2 - PS Insights

COOL AT A PRICE

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The trend in urban hotels is to offer fewer amenities in return for “cool.” Dramatic lighting, black-outfitted receptionists and laptops at check-in, tiny rooms that are oh-so-well appointed without any place to put your clothes or your luggage. Hip chic is a business proposition. But it seems to us that comfort with a just a small dose of cool power is a more powerful business proposition.

KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE

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Tuesday we got an e-mail detailing the schedule for an upcoming national convention in Orlando. What caught our eye was the welcome party blurb:  “Salsa dancers, cigars hand-rolled Havana-style, reggae from the Caribbean, Mediterranean belly dancers…” At first we thought we’d fallen into a 1990s convention timewarp. Then we saw the convention was for the National Association of Homebuilders. It’s certainly not an event we’d put on, but clearly they know their audience. Are you tuned in to the taste(s) of your customers? Are you tuned into their tastes in a tasteful way?

FANTASY FUFILLED

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Many years ago, Steve’s son, Max, was being given a private tour of the set of Sesame Street. When he went backstage, though, Big Bird’s costume was hanging on a peg. Just at that moment, Carroll Spinney (who plays Big Bird) walked in and sized up the situation. Before Max could be disillusioned for life, Carroll swooped down by his side and said, sotto voce, “Shhh. Big Bird’s sleeping.” Do you and your people work to deliver dreams, magic and miracles?

POST-IT NOTES REDUX

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Okay, okay – we’ve already written about how much we love Post-It Notes. But what we see time and time again when we do our Marketing Plan in a Day training is how using Post-It Notes forces people to be clear and concise. Can you write your company’s mission statement on a 3″ square Post-It note? Try it!

NO SURPRISES

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Dollar-off coupons feel like a great idea except when the fine print says they will be delivered in the form of an in-store credit or – even worse – a pre-filled credit card. As far as we’re concerned, surprises aren’t welcome unless they’re in the form of birthday parties, engagement rings or customer promises delivered early. In this age of customer centricity, deliver what you say you’re going to deliver in the form the customer expects it. Being clever may earn you short term revenue, but it will lose you long term customers.

3-LETTER BRAND EVOLUTION

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IBM isn’t in the Machine business. UPS isn’t in the Parcel business. KFC is evolving beyond the Fried chicken business. More and more we’re seeing businesses that were hamstrung by their names rebranding to liberate their image and their offering. Often 3 letters do the branding trick. What’s your business name? Does it deliver a balance between clarity and vision?

THE STAPLE CONUNDRUM

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What do you do if you make a “perfect product?” Staples (the paper fasteners, not the store) are a “perfect product.” A box of 5,000 Swingline staples costs $3.29 at, well, Staples. That’s 0.000658 cents apiece! When was the last time you actually bought a box of staples? Great for us as consumers – a real dilemma for Swingline. How do you extend the value of what you offer to bigger platforms and offerings your customers will find indispensable?