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November 2013 - PS Insights

THANKSGIVUKKAH

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This year Hanukkah and Thanksgiving are falling on the same day. Tonight. This is a once-in-a-lifetime event and won’t occur again for 77,000 years. Thanksgivukkah is the word that has been coined to acknowledge the Thanksgiving/Hanukkah confluence. A new word for a single day like “Y2K.” The world didn’t end 13 years ago. And if you want to celebrate Thanksgivukkah this week, add latkes (potato pancakes) to the sweet potatoes on your holiday menu. Have a great holiday weekend and we’ll be back (stuffed) on Monday.

WHAT A GAL!

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German golfer Sandra Gal joined the LPGA tour about four years ago and has been rising steadily in the ranks. The result has been a succession of recent headlines that aren’t meant to be punny (Gal Takes Lead; Gal Fights Weather; etc.) but remind us of how far most of us have come in discarding the language of sexism and male paternalism. What antiquated or inappropriate language do you still employ  – and how are you going to get beyond it?

PIGEON DROPPINGS

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A follow-up to our comment about athletes and drugs. An article in the New York Times late last month revealed that doping had come to pigeon racing, as well. Following a race in Belgium, six pigeons tested positive for banned performance-enhancing drugs. Really?! Can we trust that as you compete in the business world, you seek every advantage that is legal, not dopey?

RAMEN BURGER

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We just heard about a new hamburger. The Ramen Burger marries the noodles we love with hamburgers. Seems like a good substitute for a bun. We’re great fans of paradigm busting—even if it’s just cleverly renaming “spaghetti with meatballs.” What new recipes are you concocting for your marketing?

THE CUSTOMER COMES FIRST

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For the past three years, one of the most in demand workshops we do is “Customer Centricity.” Corporate marketing departments avidly want to know what’s changed and why putting the customer front and center is more important than ever. The multiplicity of marketing platforms? Elusive audiences? The new two-way conversation?  Sure. But isn’t the idea of putting the customer first what we always should have been doing?

HUH?

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While we’ve written a number of blogs about the shifts in language due to the Web, it seems “proper usage” may be an artificial and fairly recent fiction. A story in the NYTimes reported that linguists believe the most universal word in the world isn’t “mama” or “dada” but rather “huh?” Huh? In fact, that simple questioning expression shows up in languages as diverse as West African Siwu, Australian Aboriginal, Murrinh-Patha, Chinese and, of course, English. Human beings have always preferred short, simple means of communication. Do you use words that are short and to the point? Duh!

GOOGLE THIS

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Steve’s talk to the Louisville AAF club last week came with an added bonus. One of their members, Liam Spradlin, is an avid Google blogger who was given a pair of Google Glass to test and keep. Liam was kind enough to give Steve a view of the future. First reaction? It’s going to be another iPad: A must-have device that’s powerful and fun but will take a while to find its serious application and use. What do you see in your future that will be the next transformation in how we live and work?

THE THIRD PLACE

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Starbucks works to a brand positioning that is not stated. The internal mantra, “The Third Place,” is all about attracting customers in between home and work—as many times during the day as possible. In the morning, at lunch time, in the afternoon and—with their current beer and wine test marketing—after work, as well. This guiding idea underscores Starbucks’ desire to enhance consumer engagement without being obvious about it. Do you have an internal positioning that guides your business? Should you?

ATTENTION DEFICIT

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There was an intriguing story in the NY Times recently about a bet over dinner. Whoever reached for their smart phone first was to pick up the tab for the meal. Time after time we are seeing people so immersed in their technology that human contact and conversation are being sacrificed. Painfully, we see it in business meetings, as well. What are you doing to protect communication rather than drowning in tech drivel?

HERE’S A TIP

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Unlike more and more business travelers these days–around 30% according to CNN–we both leave a tip for the housemaids. Besides their miserably low pay for a tough, dirty job, we think of it as a form of Traveler’s Insurance. We can’t prove this irrefutably, but we sincerely believe that if we forget an item and leave it in our room, there’s a higher probability it’ll get turned in and returned if we left a tip. Is this just the right thing to do, an aspect of pay it forward, left item insurance…or all of these?