Blog

August 2014 - PS Insights

AUGUST

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The time has come to recharge our batteries. We’ll be on vacation until after Labor Day. Enjoy the rest of your summer!

PERCEPTION

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An old marketing joke: Ad agency president pulls up to the client’s offices in a shiny new Lexus. The client, looking out the window, sees the car and thinks, “We’re paying these guys too much money.” Later that day, a consultant pulls up to the client’s offices in a brand new Mercedes. Client looks out the window and thinks, “This guy must be good.” How do you manage your clients’ perception of what you do?

WEASEL MEAT, ANYONE?

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“Weasel” is an expression marketing people use for a term that sounds great—but means absolutely nothing. The classic advertising weasel is, “Nothing works better than (name of product).” Sounds great, doesn’t it? But there may be thousands of similar products that work just as well as the product named. We were thinking about weasels the other day when we heard a commercial for WalMart: “All natural beef” was the claim. Sounds great. Of course, they didn’t say “hormone-free” or “organic” or any other word that has a real meaning. Leaves us wondering what unnatural beef tastes like. What weasels are you using in your business claims?

WHAT TOOK THEM SO LONG?

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P&G announced plans to divest themselves of more than half their brands. The news story indicated that Tide and Pampers together currently account for 90% of P&G’s sales and 95% of the company’s profits. We don’t think you need a Harvard MBA to know that if you’ve got 160 other brands that only add up to 5% of your profits you should probably lighten the portfolio. What inefficient departments, brands or services are you holding onto out of habit?

APPLE ALLERT

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We got a notice from “Apple” this week with the subject line: “Update your infomrations now.” While the blatant phishing attempt made us laugh, we also thought there are probably thousands of Apple customers around the world whose command of English spelling isn’t as good as ours—and a few who will click on the link and get sucked in. How do you deal with phishing and what’s your suggested solution?

YOU STAYED WHERE?

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Steve got back from a week in Los Angeles…but don’t ask him where he stayed, what he did or where he ate. The hip trend of not naming your establishment has taken firm root out there. As a result, he ate in four restaurants that had no name on their door and visited countless other locations that could only be found by social media. Is being hip building your business…or costing you customers?

IKEA NAPS

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It is well known that IKEA has made adjustments to its model as it has launched in different countries. The latest is nappers in China. Many would-be buyers are testing out floor models by taking naps on beds and couches and even changing baby diapers on the furniture. The behavior would be mortifying in US IKEA stores, but it’s building customer traction in China. What do you do to adapt your business model to appeal to new customers?

PRETZEL BREAD

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Yum. We love tasty mash-ups and pretzel bread is certainly one. Soft pretzels as bread have been quite the rage and Wendy’s Chicken Pub Pretzel Sandwich sure sounds good to us. What do you do to differentiate your offering by combining new paradigms to your menu?

DOVE PATCH

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Dove has done such a brilliant job with their Real Beauty campaign – until now. Their “Forensic Artist” commercial has become the most watched viral commercial ever. But their follow up spot about a bogus beauty patch jumped the shark. Authenticity is a powerful force in advertising today. Forcing a consumer behavior that is so obviously false is a huge mistake. What do you do to ensure you keep it real?

GRILL

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Paul went to a restaurant in Stockholm called Grill. It was divided into different environments including train, bordello, and picnic spaces. Each of the areas was like separate stage sets and evoked a fun atmosphere. The specialties of the house were all grilled. But the food wasn’t great. The price tag was really high, but the place was packed. What stunts do you pull off to attract customers even when your service proposition isn’t as quality all the way through as you wish it were?