Paul took a flight on Delta recently and checked in the night before. He went to Terminal C as indicated on his boarding pass only to find out the flight was departing from Terminal D. Following the long walk, he asked the Delta agent why he had been misinformed. The Delta agency suggested Paul should have Googled the flight to get more accurate information. Really? Good news for Google’s reliability. But a black eye for Delta’s reputation. Do you relegate your expertise to third parties?
January 2014 - PS Insights
Geek used to be a rather denigrating label for someone who was dweebie, awkward and uncool. Today, it’s got real cachet. From Best Buy’s Geek Squad to the recent labeling of Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer being a Geek to those large black-framed glasses that are today’s fashion vogue (right, Justin Timberlake?). Intelligence and savvy should be valued. Do you buy into the new fashion of intelligence?
Billboards make for a cluttered mess of advertising during the day. But Paul’s brother Scott forwarded a picture with the inference that (other than Times Square) the nighttime sky provides a pretty intense opportunity for stand-out branding. Anyone shopped at H&M this Christmas?
Paul’s wife recently went to Uniqlo, the Japanese retailer that promises to be the biggest in the US by 2020 (promising $50 billion in sales). When she went to check out she was asked credit or debit. She replied “cash,” to which the cashier replied “I can’t take that. Let me see if I can find someone who can.” Apparently most of the registers have no cash. Is this our virtual future where buying is exclusively with cards and symbols? And would they have taken Bitcoins?
In 1993, the Dinkins Administration signed the first contract for public toilets in New York City. 20 years and now four administrations later, there is still only one experimental toilet in Herald Square (pictured…along with an unidentified woman who, we assume, was about to use it). For a town that bills itself as a world-class city, it’s amazing how so many creature comforts are overlooked. What do you do to be sure that you are responsive to all your customers’ – or friends – needs?
Steve’s fallen into a penny-ante weekly poker game in Hartford. Well, more like 25-50, but we’re not talking dollars. Steve hasn’t played for those stakes since high school, and all he can think of is the wisdom Albert Hague, who used to say, “In poker, you can’t bluff someone who isn’t paying attention.” What stakes are you playing for these days—and are people paying attention?
A friend of ours recently told us of the only pressures he ever feels in business. He expressed them as the “time demon” and the “money demon.” We found his analysis to be elegantly simple and largely true. Do you encounter these business demons and what do you do to overcome them?
A number of stores and restaurants have signature dishes, specials and much requested items. They can be loss leaders or premium delicacies. They are often the “stuff” of good reputations. Yet sometimes they’re sold out or out of stock. Not good. Unless you’re deliberately trying to create a feeding frenzy for more, make sure you have what you sell – or a policy to satisfy disappointed buyers. When you stand for something make sure you deliver what you stand for.
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.
We’re all in a rush these days. To the point where we don’t even bother to open e-mails we receive – we just read them in the preview screen. Internet engagement used to be measured via clickthroughs. Today there are many other measures that can assess the quality of an online interaction. And they’re more necessary than ever to get a true reading on what’s going on. What are you doing to make your brand interaction as easy, direct and time-saving as possible?