Blog

December 2012 - PS Insights

HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS

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Maybe you’re home for the holidays or maybe you’re away. Either way, enjoy. We wish you happy holidays and a healthy and prosperous new year. Until then, there will be one less piece of mail to read. Our blog will join you on your return to work in January.

ASPARAGUS

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If you’ve ever tried growing asparagus, you know that it takes two to three years before you have a crop you can eat. One of our clients once used that analogy in a marketing presentation she was making to senior management. “Brand or image advertising is like growing asparagus,” she said. “If you need it, you better have planted it three years ago.” Do you expect immediate results from your image campaign or do you invest in asparagus for long-term brand health?

CREATIVITY COMMODITIZED

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The Hollywood Effect—the strategy of letting all your vendors do all the work before laying out any money—has moved beyond the movie business, resulting in devalued and commoditized creativity. Today’s mantra seems to be, “I don’t know what’s creative, but I’ll recognize it when I see it.” In truth, most people don’t recognize it…and then wonder why their creative marketing message just doesn’t cut through. How do you value, evaluate and pay for creativity? The price is well worth it.

YOUR BRAND IS YOUR BOND

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The latest Bond film has done big box office. But it was instantly forgettable (for Steve) and annoying (for Paul). Ironically, it’s because they violated all the rules of their brand. The Bond brand is simple: Suave spy confronts extraordinary challenges to keep a diabolical, interesting villain from global domination. For many, the film may have been a fun thrill-ride,  but, alas, they didn’t deliver the core elements of the Bond brand. How are you keeping your bond with your brand loyalists?

CROWDSOURCING OR TALENT RIP-OFF?

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There’s a feeding frenzy around crowdsourcing. We’re seeing more and more examples of companies turning away from their “usual suppliers” to tap into the creativity of the crowd. The latest example is A&E Network which announced a “contest” to design the opening title sequence for their upcoming TV series, “Bates Motel.” Rather than pay a professional design team from $5k to $15k to do the work, they’ve offered a $2,500 prize and the (we’re quoting the press release) “possibility” the winner will be used. That should send a chill down the spines of the hundreds of freelancers and graphic studios that make a living designing network graphics, titles and animation. We wonder who’s next…?

NOT IN ITALY

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“We’re sorry, but the cappuccino machine is broken.” Both Paul and Steve have heard this line from too many restaurant staff. Funny, but you never hear anyone in Italy ever say that. If its on the menu, it’s important. Make sure you can serve what you say.

CONFERENCE BAGS

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Virtually every conference hands out a bag. Some are well designed and desirable. Some are cheap and crappy. We toss the latter out on the first day. The good ones we still use all the time – promoting your product or service. If you’re going to create a lasting image of your event, pay attention to the bag’s design and utility. Spend the extra buck if needed. It’s a billboard at the convention and — if it continues in use after the event — it’s free advertising for you.

NO EXPIRATION DATE

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The customer is always right, right? Paul had a membership in a fitness club and a personal training contract. After lapsing on his regular schedule, he went back to the trainer to complete his last three sessions. The trainer told him the training sessions had expired. Coupons expire. Customer relationships shouldn’t. Paul didn’t renew his membership in the club. What do you do to be sure you keep your customers satisfied and your relationship with them ongoing?

CHANUKAH ZEBRA

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We enjoyed receiving this Chanukah card this week – but it reminds us of an all-too-painful truth: These days, with the ease and skill with which anyone can Photoshop anything and things can go viral in a nanosecond, it’s imperative that all of us be doubly vigilant about what we read, see or forward on the Web. In the old days, it was caveat emptor – let the buyer beware. These days, it’s caveat nuntius lector – let the newsreader beware. But no matter what your stripes, we wish you a happy holiday!

IDEAS THAT LAUNCH

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Most of us come up with great, new ideas all the time. It’s challenging. It’s fun. And most of the time it’s just an exercise in intellectual calisthenics. The really big ideas are the ideas that launch. All others are maybes, wannabes or never bes. Revisit some of your maybes and make them fly.